Tonight, Tammie Jo Shults, the female pilot who calmly landed a stricken passenger jet after a mid-air blast tore a gaping hole in its side has been hailed a true hero.
One death was recorded after a passenger was “partially sucked out” of the Southwest Airlines jet when its engine exploded at 32,000ft.
Although the situation would have been a lot worse if it weren’t for the quick thinking of pilot Tammie Jo Shults. She managed to land the jet without any further loss of life.
She calmly and swiftly brought the plane to land at Philadelphia International by 11am at a descent of 3,000ft per minute.
Speaking to Air Traffic Control during the drama at 32,000 ft she said,
“So we have a part of the aircraft missing”
She can then be heard requesting for medical crews to meet them on landing, revealing,
“We have injured passengers.
A passenger named Abourman later took to Instagram to write:
“The pilot Tammy Jo was so amazing!
Another Cassie Adams added:
“Thank you to the incredible pilot at @SouthwestAir who got a plane without an engine to the ground as quickly as possible.”
“Awesome job Pilot Tammie Jo Shults. You are a credit to navy aviators. Your bravery and calm demeanor in landing 1380 is exemplary.”
Shults reportedly flew F-18s, as one of the fUS Navy’s first female fighter pilots previously.
It can be recalled that the Boeing 737 had just departed New York’s LaGuardia Airport en-route to Dallas when the left engine exploded and ruptured metal flew towards a window.
It was flying over east Pennsylvania with 143 passengers and five members of crew on board when the left engine suddenly exploded mid air.
An elderly’ woman had to be pulled back inside by brave passengers and crew after the aircraft was pierced by shrapnel.
Shults quickly diverted towards Philadelphia to make an emergency landing and photos show what appears to be jet fuel, oozing from the passenger plane onto the tarmac.
According to other passengers on the plane, the shrapnel pierced a window next to the female passenger as the aircraft made its descent.
Marty Martinez who was seated two rows back from the window and who filmed a live-stream of the emergency landing revealed that “there was blood everywhere” on-board.
He narrated how those on board tried to plug the hole using jackets. He added that he and other passengers didn’t believe they’d survive the landing.
Martinez began recording a final Facebook Live video for his loved ones while his colleague next to him wrote a goodbye not to his wife and unborn child. He told CNN:
“Thirty minutes into the flight, it was just a standard flight, then all of a sudden there’s this loud explosion. And it – like within a span of five seconds, all of the – all of the oxygen masks deployed.
Just a few seconds later, another explosion happened, and it was the window, that just completely exploded. And as you can imagine, everybody was going crazy, and yelling and screaming.
And as this was all happening, you looked at the flight attendants, their reaction – and it seemed like, some of them were starting to cry. We knew that we were in a really bad place.
All I can think of was, the plane’s going down, I’m like we’re probably not going to make it, what do I do. I knew I couldn’t get any text messages out, I couldn’t make any calls.
So I just immediately thought to whip out my laptop, so I grabbed my laptop, and as the plane is going down, I am literally purchasing internet just so I can get some kind of communication to the outside world.”
Flight information provided by FlightRadar24 showed that the plane went from approximately 30,000 feet to 13,000 feet in five minutes. The airport released the following statement:
“Southwest Airlines flight 1380, which departed LaGuardia for Dallas Love Field (DAL), diverted to PHL because of an operational event.
The plane landed safely. No slides were deployed.
At this time, passengers are coming down a mobile stairway and are being bussed to the terminal. PHL Flights continue to arrive and depart but passengers should expect delays.”
Southwest said the plane diverted “because of an operational event” and that it landed safely with no emergency slide deployment. The statement said,
“Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our Customers and Crews at this time.”
Southwest has about 700 planes, all of them 737s, including more than 500 737-700s like the one involved in Tuesday’s emergency landing.
It is the world’s largest operator of the 737. The Boeing 737 is the best-selling jetliner in the world and has a good safety record.