Shults saved 148 lives when she successfully guided Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 to the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport.
"Something is wrong with our plane!"
Another passenger, Marty Martinez, heard, "Brace for landing". After making a seamless emergency landing on Tuesday, she hugged traumatized passengers hugged them and consoled them before they de-boarded, say media reports. "But part of it's missing".
"She didn't fly that plane alone", he said.
"She has nerves of steel". She had an engine out, a lady hurting, a hole in the fuselage. 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.
Audio of the incident shows how the Southwest Airlines pilot kept her cool despite an engine exploding and a passenger nearly being sucked from the plane.
Jennifer Riordan, the female passenger, whom witnesses said was pulled back in from the broken plane window, died at a Philadelphia hospital, authorities said.
An investigation into the incident is underway; for now, many are marveling at the way Shults maintained the coolest head during the airliner's plight.
In air traffic control audio, Shults spoke calmly and slowly, describing the emergency unfolding more than 30,000 feet in the air - all the while trying to land a plane with engine failure.
Shults made an initial call to air traffic control, but her next communications were either lost in dense static or consisted only of the plane's alarm systems beeping. She was doing what was needed to be done.
Shults: "Southwest 1380 has an engine fire". "They didn't waste the time - rightfully so - with a passenger critically injured in back".
Shults: "Yes sir, we're single-engine descending, have a fire in No. 1". What are you going to do if "that" happens?
After confirming a new heading and a lower altitude, Shults adds, "If you would, have them roll the [emergency] trucks. No more channel switching".
And she landed that plane, and no one expressed surprise that she was up to the job because that's what good pilots do.
Soon after, Shults became a pilot for Southwest Airlines-and, as evidenced this week, a great one at that.
The pilots said they had been interviewed by investigators Wednesday and would not be doing any media interviews. "We have got ... err injured passengers", she said.
Passengers said she walked through the aisle and talked with them to make sure they were OK after the plane touched down.
The damaged airliner was still able to touch down on its landing gear.
About 20 minutes after the flight departed from NY, passengers say they heard what sounded like explosions. "It's off to your right and slightly behind you there", he says. "Thanks, guys, for the help".
"I can't wait for our daughters to watch the movie about Southwest Airlines pilot Tammie Jo Shults", user Simran Jeet Singh wrote, "a fearless trailblazer and national hero". "She landed us safely in Philly". She was also a pistol marksman, according to records. Although she wasn't allowed to fly in combat, she did fly as an aggressor pilot.
Though Navy regulations prevented her from engaging in combat missions, Shults's tenacity and skill nonetheless earned her a 10-year military stint in a male-dominated field. "She did it for herself and all women fighting for a chance". She left the Navy in 1993 with her husband.
"She just grew up with a strong faith, has always led a very faith-filled and faith-led life, and I think that's equipped her for all of the things she's done in her life", said Chandler, a San Antonio attorney.
Finke said she knew Shults was a standout the moment she met her. "She's a very caring, giving person who takes care of lots of people".
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