Tammie Jo Shults, a former Navy fighter pilot and pilot of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, has been praised as a hero for guiding the craft to a safe emergency landing at PHL after it suffered engine failure on Tuesday. The plane’s fuselage was pierced after the explosion of its left engine.
Tammie Jo Shults, the pilot of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, has been hailed a hero for guiding the craft to safety after it suffered engine failure at 32,000 feet on Tuesday. The plane was traveling from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York to Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) when the incident occurred.
Shults conducted the safe emergency landing of the craft, the fuselage of which was pierced by shrapnel from the explosion of its left engine approximately 20 minutes out of New York.
This, in turn, caused a cabin window to smash and the cabin itself to depressurize. At this point, it is also reported that a traveler who has been named as Jennifer Riordan, was sucked toward the hole in the fuselage, but was pulled back by her fellow passengers. Though taken to hospital upon landing, it has been announced that Riordan died as a result of her injuries.
Shults piloted the craft to a lower altitude and conducted a safe emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). In an excerpt of the audio recording between Shults and air traffic control, as quoted by the Evening Standard, she is heard to inform the controller, “So we have a part of the aircraft missing.” Shults also requested medical assistance upon landing in PHL.
Shults, who was one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots, joined Southwest in 1993 after having been an instructor. In addition to being hailed for her cool demeanor, passengers were gratified to find that Shults paused to speak to them after landing the flight.
Passenger Diana McBride Self wrote, “Tammie Jo Schults, the pilot came back to speak to each of us personally. This is a true American Hero. A huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation. God bless her and all the crew.”
Gary Shults, her brother-in-law, was quoted by the Associated Press, as saying, “She’s a formidable woman, as sharp as a tack. My brother says she’s the best pilot he knows. She’s a very caring, giving person who takes care of lots of people.”