Plane forced to turn back to Cuba after collision with birds caused engine fire

US News

A plane heading from Cuba to Florida was forced to turn back on Sunday, after it hit birds, casing an engine to set on fire, filling the cabin with smoke.

Southwest Airlines flight 2923 was on its way to Fort Lauderdale in Florida, before it had to return to Havana after hitting birds.

As the aircraft was gaining altitude, it “experienced bird strikes to an engine and the aircraft’s nose,” the airline said.

One passenger, Steven Rodriguez, told WSVN-TV that the emergency oxygen masks were deployed, adding: “It was like a burn smell, and it was hurting my face. My eyes got real red, my chest started to burn.”

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Video from Mr Rodriguez shows a smoke-filled cabin, with passengers shouting while oxygen masks dangle.

A voice then speaks in Spanish over the tannoy, appearing to calm people down.

The plane landed safely in Cuba, with no injuries reported, and some passengers left the aircraft using the emergency exit on the wings, while others used the inflatable slides.

The airline bused passengers and crew members to the airport terminal and put the passengers on a different flight to Fort Lauderdale, the airline said.

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