Southwest Airlines plane makes emergency landing after bird strikes engine, causes fire

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Monday, March 6, 2023
Plane makes emergency landing after bird strikes engine, causes fire
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What is a bird strike? A Southwest Airlines plane made an emergency landing after a bird struck an engine, causing a fire.

A Florida-bound Southwest Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after an engine caught fire and the cabin filled with smoke.

The flight was headed to Fort Lauderdale from Havana on Sunday. Southwest said there was a reported bird strike to an engine and the aircraft's nose shortly after takeoff.

Passengers screamed as smoke filled the cabin inside the plane. People on board used overhead oxygen masks that dropped down.

WATCH: Passengers scream as smoke fills cabin after bird strike causes fire

"We have bird strikes happen every day at commercial aviation, but very seldom does it require an emergency return. However, we always err on the side of caution, and that's what this crew did," said John Nance.

The plane turned around and made an emergency landing. Passengers covered their faces as they evacuated through the emergency exits.

Some were seen standing on the wing of the plane while others rushed back inside, making their way through the smoke down to the tarmac, using the inflatable slides.

Crews there waited to transport them back to the terminal as firefighters hosed down the plane.

"What we had was a precautionary emergency landing. And, that doesn't mean it's a full-blown, almost on-the-edge-of-disaster emergency, but it does mean that we're not going to take any chances if something needs to be put on the ground," Nance said.