After an engine aboard a Southwest Airlines flight exploded at 32,000 feet, it was up to the aircraft’s pilot to make some tough quick-thinking decisions to land the plane successfully. The pilots name is Tammie Jo Shults.
Among many fast-thinking maneuvers, she calmly radioed in air traffic control and explained the emergency situation as one passenger was in critical condition aboard Flight 1380.
“We have a part of the aircraft missing,” she told air traffic control. “Could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers.”
“Injured passengers, OK. And is your airplane physically on fire?”
“No, it’s not on fire,” she replied. “But part of it is missing. They said there’s a hole and that someone went out.”
The air traffic controller responded: “Um, I’m sorry. You said there was a hole and somebody went out? Southwest 1380 it doesn’t matter we will work it out there.”
The pilot was a Navy veteran and had 32 years working in a male-dominated field.
After landing the plane, passengers reported that she came out of the cockpit and personally spoke to everyone on board.
Another 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.”