Florida flight forced to return after bird crash causes fire

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A flight to Florida from Cuba was forced to turn back Sunday after it struck birds that caused an engine to catch fire and filled the cabin with smoke, a news report said.

Southwest Airlines flight 2923 headed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, returned to Havana after striking the birds, WSVN-TV reported.

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No injuries were reported.

The plane departed José Martí international Airport in Havana enroute to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Sunday afternoon. The aircraft was gaining altitude and “experienced bird strikes to an engine and the aircraft’s nose,” the airline said in a statement to the television station.

A passenger told WSVN that the impact sent fumes through the airplane and caused emergency oxygen masks to deploy.

“It was like a burn smell, and it was hurting my face. My eyes got real red, my chest started to burn,” Steven Rodriguez said.

After safely landing in Cuba, some passengers evacuated onto the wings through emergency exits and others used inflatable slides to leave the plane, WSVN reported.

The airline transported passengers and crew members to the airport terminal and planned to put the customers on a different flight to Fort Lauderdale, the station reported.

Southwest Airlines did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking additional information.

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