Southwest 737 MAX Cabin Fills With Smoke After Bird Strike

Southwest 737 MAX Cabin Fills With Smoke After Bird Strike

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While bird strikes happen fairly regularly, a Southwest Airlines jet encountered a pretty bad one yesterday while departing Cuba, as reported by The Aviation Herald.

Southwest 737 departing Havana suffers bird strike

This incident involves a brand new Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 with the registration code N8792Q. The plane was scheduled to operate the short 255-mile flight WN3923 from Havana (HAV) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

The aircraft took off from runway 6 as scheduled. Shortly after departure, the jet suffered bird strikes to both the right engine and the nose. Passengers reported hearing three loud bangs, and then flames came out of the right engine. At this point smoke developed in the cabin, and the pilots made the decision to immediately divert back to Havana.

The plane landed there safely just minutes after taking off. After vacating the runway, the aircraft stopped on the taxiway, and passengers were evacuated via the slides on the left side of the aircraft. Furthermore, the airport firefighters sprayed the right engine to prevent a fire.

As you’d expect, the flight was canceled, and the aircraft remains on the ground in Havana. Below you can see some video footage from inside the cabin following the bird strike.

https://twitter.com/temptation_es/status/1632486068489531399

A few thoughts on this bird strike incident

Given the number of planes in the skies, bird strikes aren’t that uncommon. This one was a bit worse than normal in the sense that it would appear there were multiple bird strikes, to both the nose and engine. Furthermore, in this case smoke filled the cabin, which is obviously terrifying for passengers.

In fairness, I suspect this was more a situation that felt really dangerous, rather than one that actually was. Obviously smoke on a plane is scary, but that was likely just due to how the air was being filtered in the cabin, given what was going on with the engine.

What I find strange about the footage from inside the cabin is how the oxygen masks seem to have deployed in some rows, but not others. Did some passengers force open the consoles with the oxygen masks, did the crews for some reason just deploy them in certain rows, or was there a glitch?

Fortunately everyone managed to evacuate the aircraft safely, so this situation amounted to an inconvenience for passengers, and an extra maintenance bill and logistical challenge for Southwest.

Speaking of logistics, I’m curious how complicated this fix is going to be. Given the embargo in place between the United States and Cuba, does Southwest have a practical way to get the needed aircraft parts to Cuba, so that the plane can be fixed and flown back to the United States?

Bottom line

A Southwest Boeing 737 suffered some nasty bird strikes while departing Havana yesterday. The aircraft’s nose and right engine were hit by multiple birds, causing an engine fire, along with smoke in the cabin. Fortunately the crew got everyone on the ground safely.

Now Southwest has the challenging task of fixing this plane, given that importing aircraft parts into Cuba isn’t exactly easy (unless I’m missing something).

What do you make of this Southwest bird strike and smoke incident?

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  1. Gus Guest

    Every flight attendant was screaming at the top of their lungs “ FIRE EVACUATE LEAVE EVERYTHING BEHIND”…unbelievable that some people put their belongings before others including children

    1. SosongBlue Guest

      Are u gonna say it a 4th, 5th and 6th time Gus?

  2. Gus Guest

    Every flight attendant was screaming at the top of their lungs “ FIRE EVACUATE LEAVE EVERYTHING BEHIND”…unbelievable that some people put their belongings before others including children

  3. Gus Guest

    Leave your flipping baggage and evacuate
    Other people are behind you you idiot you

  4. Michael Guest

    Southwest Risk Management will be adding "do not fly" to the profiles for anyone seen with their roller bag on the tarmac. Fortunately the airlines can share that list - next trip will be on a boat.

  5. John Guest

    Cue the outraged commentators about pax taking their stuff. You can huff and puff all you like and say you'd never do that yourself. But you can't change (stupid) human nature. People WILL cling madly to their possessions. It's potentially dangerous and stupid behaviour...but unavoidable as proven over and over. So give it a break. We've heard it all before. And YOU don't know how you'd act in that situation...despite what you preach. I'm not...

    Cue the outraged commentators about pax taking their stuff. You can huff and puff all you like and say you'd never do that yourself. But you can't change (stupid) human nature. People WILL cling madly to their possessions. It's potentially dangerous and stupid behaviour...but unavoidable as proven over and over. So give it a break. We've heard it all before. And YOU don't know how you'd act in that situation...despite what you preach. I'm not advocating this stupidity, but I'm also smart enough not to waste my breath changing human nature and instincts and acting outraged.

    1. Dan77W Guest

      @John

      However if there was an actual fire those people would be potentially doom the people behind them by slowing the evacuation but more importantly by ripping open and deflating the slides. How bout prying open the Oxygen masks are you gonna excuse that too? Looks like they did that too!

    2. Sosongblue Guest

      John-

      I don’t see any outrage here just expected disappointment. Don’t try to create drama where there is none. They were just observing.

  6. Serge T Guest

    I am with all the previous commenters. How many people are sliding down with full size bags. That’s just not ok. Isn’t there a FA next to the exit instructing people or it is every man for themselves? Very sad.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      You actually have to blame the first selfish person who set the wrong precedent for the rest of the plane. The only idiot is the one who believes this is because it's human nature.

      What's surprising is with 2 free checked bags, still so many full size carryon?

  7. MildMidwesterner Diamond

    Somewhere in this incident is a joke about smoking a Cuban (bird).

    1. Joe Jonas Guest

      I was thinking smoked turkey.

  8. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

    Very frightening event indeed. Kudos to the flight crew, especially the pilots for their professionalism and prompt performance. They saved the day!!

    1. David Diamond

      Kudos to the crew? They clearly did not instruct the passengers to leave their baggage in the plane.

  9. Dan77W Guest

    Those few rows of O2 mask deployments would likely have been forced open by passengers, the cabin crew nor the flight deck would have deployed them in this circumstance because with smoke or fire in the cabin it would be the LAST thing you’d want to do. It was probably the same few passengers that were the first to grab their bags.

    1. TravelCat2 Gold

      It's disappointing how many passengers were sliding down the evacuation chute with full sized carry-on bags.

    2. Dan77W Guest

      Yup, should be prosecuted for endangering the lives of all the passengers behind them. All it takes is one heavy bag to puncture a slide.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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David Diamond

Kudos to the crew? They clearly did not instruct the passengers to leave their baggage in the plane.

1
Dan77W Guest

Yup, should be prosecuted for endangering the lives of all the passengers behind them. All it takes is one heavy bag to puncture a slide.

1
TravelCat2 Gold

It's disappointing how many passengers were sliding down the evacuation chute with full sized carry-on bags.

1
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