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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A small aircraft was forced to return to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport due to a cracked windshield, airport officials confirm.

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It’s unknown at this point what caused the windshield to crack.

Silver Airways flight 3099 was on its way to Key West from Fort Lauderdale when crew members informed passengers of the cracked windshield.

Elizabeth Thomas, who was traveling from New Jersey to visit family in Key West, told CBS4 News, the flight had made it three quarters of the way to Key West when the plane had to turn around.

“We were closer to Key West than we were to Fort Lauderdale, so we were all concerned having a cracked windshield that we were going to go all the way back. But they had told us they didn’t have a maintenance crew in Key West,” said Thomas in a telephone interview.

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Thomas sent CBS4 News a picture she took as she was exiting the plane.  The picture shows the view from inside the cockpit. A number of cracks can be seen on the right hand side of the windshield.  But Thomas said the picture does not do the damage justice.

Thomas said after seeing the extent of the damage, it was worse than what she imagined.  She said the windshield was partly shattered.  She said she was thankful everyone made it back to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport safely.

“They initially said that it was just a crack and then when I got down and were exiting the plane. I saw the extent of it and the first thing that went through my mind was, ‘Thank God we made it,’ because the thing that I thought about was, you know, it collapsing because it was so badly busted up,” said Thomas.

According to its website, Silver Airways operates “around 150 daily scheduled flights between gateways in Florida, the Bahamas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia.”  The website goes on to say, “Silver Airways is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale with a maintenance facility based at Gainesville Regional Airport in Florida.”

The passengers aboard the flight were able to board another flight and landed in Key West Tuesday around 9:30 p.m.

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CBS4 News reached out to Silver Airways in regards to the incident and so far have not heard back.