On Sunday morning, a Southwest Airlines flight from Havana, Cuba, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was forced to make an abrupt emergency landing at Jose Marti Airport due to an engine reportedly catching fire after a bird strike. Cell phone footage showed smoke filling the cabin of the Boeing 737, accompanied by the panic and terror of the passengers inside.
Adults desperately punched the roof to release the oxygen masks and explain to the children how to fit them properly on their faces. Unfortunately, the safety precautions were of little use to the passengers.
When the plane eventually landed, the pilot was able to steer the plane back to safety and was given much praise and applause from the travelers. The incident left many passengers in fear and shock, with one passenger, Steven Rodriguez, claiming to have thought it was his “time to go” and that he was “terrified.”
Radio Rebelde, the state-run media outlet, said that the aviation department blamed the strikes on failures in one of the plane’s engines during the takeoff process. Southwest Airlines did not confirm the engine failure but informed CNN that the company would “review the aircraft to assess the damage.”
The passengers and crew were provided with alternate accommodations to reach their final destination of Fort Lauderdale, most of which were booked for Monday morning.