Southwest pilot, a former Navy fighter pilot, praised for her ‘nerves of steel’ during emergency

Things looked grim aboard the Southwest Airlines flight, but you wouldn’t have guessed it hearing the air of calm from the former Navy fighter pilot guiding the plane to safety.

About 20 minutes after the flight departed from New York, passengers say they heard what sounded like explosions. Debris from an engine failure broke open a plane window. A female passenger was sucked into the hole where the window had been.
With oxygen masks dangling and passengers screaming as they struggled to save the woman, the pilot’s voice conveyed none of the panic aboard Southwest Flight 1380.
For her composure under fire, Tammie Jo Shults was invited to the White House on Tuesday, along with first officer Darren Ellisor, the three members of the flight crew and a few of the passengers who donned virtual capes after the plane lost an engine.
“You drew from years of training and safety, and you knew how to land that plane. We salute you and every member of this crew. Thank you very much,” President Donald Trump said before shaking Shults’ and Ellisor’s hands.
The way Shults handled the April 17 emergency has been applauded by passengers, but in a joint statement with Ellisor, the captain shrugged off praise for their actions.
“We all feel we were simply doing our jobs,” they said in a statement posted on the airline’s social media pages. “Our hearts are heavy. On behalf of the entire crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss.”
The pilots said they had been interviewed by investigators and would not be doing any media interviews.
Passenger Alfred Tumlinson told WPVI: “She has nerves of steel. That lady, I applaud her. I’m going to send her a Christmas card, I’m going to tell you that, with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome.”
Johnson posted a picture of the shredded engine and thanked crew members, calling them #angelsinthesky.
He also tweeted a photo of the crew. “We lost an engine mid-flight and they guided back to Philly.”


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