TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Passengers aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Havana, Cuba, to Fort Lauderdale panicked Sunday as smoke filled the cabin mid-flight.
Officials said Southwest Airlines flight 3923 was taking off from José Martí International Airport when the plane experienced multiple bird strikes to an engine and the aircraft’s nose.
Images from inside the plane showed the engine catching fire before the cabin filled with smoke.
“Please stay seated. Please stay seated,” the aircraft’s pilot can be heard saying over the plane’s loudspeaker.
An airline spokesperson said the plane safely returned to Havana where passengers were evacuated via emergency slides.
“It was a big explosion and the plane just shook and then it dropped,” one passenger told NBC News. “It was very terrifying because a lot of kids and a lot of women. Chaos. Complete chaos.”
According to Cuban officials, the passengers are in good condition. The airline said customers and crew were accommodated on another flight to Fort Lauderdale.
An investigation is underway.