A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX-8, registered as N8792Q, suffered an engine failure and was forced to turn back to Havana, Cuba, shortly after departure.
The aircraft departed on a regularly scheduled Southwest Airlines flight WN3923 on March 5, 2023, from Havana Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) to Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Florida, United States (US), when it suffered a right-hand side engine failure upon departure.
Initial reports have suggested that the aircraft suffered multiple bird strikes to the engine and the nose shortly after take-off, which resulted in smoke filling the cabin. Video footage shared on social media shows passengers evacuating the aircraft via the emergency slides, while emergency crews worked to extinguish the right-hand side CFM International LEAP-1B engine of the 737 MAX.
According to a statement by a Southwest Airlines spokesperson, the aircraft “experienced bird strikes to one of the engines and the aircraft’s nose shortly after takeoff”. Subsequently, the pilots made a successful landing in HAV, with no injuries to the 147 passengers or six crew members following the evacuation of the aircraft “via slides due to smoke in the cabin”.
“The Customers and Crew were bussed to the terminal and are being accommodated on alternative flights to Fort Lauderdale. We commend the swift, professional actions of our Pilots and Flight Attendants in responding to this event,” concluded the airline’s spokesperson.
At the time of publication, the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX is still at HAV.
Since the incident on the flight, which was scheduled for departure at 11:55 AM local time (UTC -5), two more Southwest Airlines 737s left HVA on March 5, 2023, namely on flights WN3921 to FLL and WN3953 to Tampa International Airport (TPA), Florida, US.
The Boeing 737 MAX-8 was delivered to the airline on November 22, 2022, and seats up to 175 passengers in its all-economy configuration, according to ch-aviation.com data.
UPDATE March 6, 2023, 2:50 PM (UTC +3): The article was updated with a statement from Southwest Airlines.