Yesterday morning, a terrifying and nightmarish situation took place on a Southwest flight from New York to Dallas.
Just a few moments after take off, one of Southwest Airlines 737’s engines exploded, sending burning shrapnel out into the air.
Tragically, one part of the shrapnel pierced and shattered a window on the plane, resulting in a female passenger, now named as Jennifer Riordan, being partially sucked through the window before being pulled back in by fellow passengers, according to reports.
Sadly Riordan later died of the injuries sustained in the horrifying encounter. Seven others were injured.
When one of the two engines on the Boeing 737-700 blew and broke apart, the plane was 32,000 feet in the air and stood little chance of making it down safely.
However the pilot who landed the plane remained level-headed and confident that she was going to make sure the plane made a safe landing.
Her name was Tammie Jo Shults and she was one of first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, the Huffington Post reports.
— Kristopher Johnson (@EMMS_MrJohnson) April 17, 2018
Tammie, 52, always wanted to be in the air, and first learnt to fly during her time in the Navy where she would land F-18 fighter jets at 150mph onto aircraft carriers.
It is only reasonable to assume that Tammie relied heavily on her Navy experience when she was forced to make a rapid landing into Philadelphia International Airport.
With one engine down, one window smashed in, and a possible fatality on board, Tammie spoke to traffic control explaining the severity of the matter and asking for ambulances on the runway immediately.
She said to the controller:
So we have a part of the aircraft missing so we’re going to need to slow down a bit.
Following those short words, Tammie went into action mode, and herself and the other plane crew members made sure that they got to Philadelphia International Airport safely and securely.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt, explained:
They’re in the simulator and practice emergency descents..and losing an engine… They did the job that professional airline pilots are trained to do.
Other passengers took to the Internet to praise Tammie for her actions.
Passenger, Amanda Bourman, wrote:
Our engine that blew out at 38000 ft. A window blew out, a man saved us all as he jumped to cover the window. Unfortunately we lost a passenger to a heart attack. The pilot, Tammy Jo was so amazing! She landed us safely in Philly. God sent his angels to watch over us. I actually heard someone say, there is a God!!
Our engine that blew out at 38000 ft. A window blew out, a man saved us all as he jumped to cover the window. Unfortunately we lost a passenger to a heart attack. The pilot, Tammy Jo was so amazing! She landed us safely in Philly. God sent his angels to watch over us. I actually heard someone say, there is a God!! #southwest #flight1380 #godsenthisangels #anotherdayofgrace
A spokesman for Southwest Airlines said:
Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our customers and crews at this time.
The Federal Aviation Administration said:
The FAA is investigating the incident and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation.
Tragically however, nothing Tammie could’ve done could have saved Jennifer Riordan.
Our thoughts go out to her friends and family at this dark time.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.