Details Still Sketchy On Southwest 737 Max Emergency Landing


Details remain scarce Tuesday night, but Southwest Airlines is reporting that one of its Boeing 737 Max airliners suffered serious bird-strike damage Sunday (March 4) after takeoff from Havana, Cuba, on a flight destined for Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The crew made a successful emergency landing back at Havana with no serious injuries, according to Southwest.

Southwest said in a statement that the Boeing “experienced bird strikes to an engine and the aircraft’s nose shortly after takeoff.” Passenger videos circulating online showed the cabin of Flight 3923 filled with smoke and panic among passengers during the emergency landing. Passenger Marco Antonio told NBC News, “Nobody could breathe … It was burning so much in the lungs. People were just screaming.” All 147 passengers and six crew members evacuated the aircraft safely via emergency slides.

“The customers and crew were bused to the terminal upon arrival yesterday where medical staff assessed some minor injuries,” Southwest reported. The emergency landing occurred around noon on Sunday, local time. Southwest said it had issued refunds to passengers and as of Monday was working on providing them with alternative flights to their destination and assessing the damage to the aircraft.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. These have CFM LEAP-1B engines; it will be interesting to find out what caused the smoke in the bleed air.

  2. My wife and I were on a flight out of KRSW to KMKE 8-10 years ago. The aircraft, a 737, had a bird strike to an engine, the cabin had some smoke but mostly it was a nasty odor that filled the cabin. The odor was more of a burnt wire type smell, not a roasted bird. Many people freaked out and thought the plane was on fire, it wasn’t. We landed safely back at KRSW, we’re put on another airplane and on our way within a couple hours.