Meet the Hero Who Landed the Southwest Flight After Its Engine Blew

Tammie Jo Shults was an ace Navy pilot and one of the first women to fly an F/A-18 fighter jet.

A catastrophic engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas killed one person and forced an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday in a terrifying ordeal for passengers. (DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Southwest pilot Tammie Jo Shults was able to keep her cool and make an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday after an engine blew on Flight 1380 from New York to Dallas, causing shrapnel to fly through the main cabin and one window. Shults, 56, was an ace Navy pilot and one of the first women to take the wheel of an F/A-18 fighter jet, reports say. Passengers took to social media to thank the pilot and crew for the way they handled the terrifying ordeal.

Shults signed up with the Navy after graduating from MidAmerica Nazarene University of Kansas in 1983. She became one of the Navy’s first female pilots, according to a Facebook post by the school’s alumni association and the New York Post. She landed her fighter plane on boats at 150 miles per hour, an article about her posted to a pilots’ forum reads, according to NY Post, and she eventually became an instructor. She currently lives in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas with her husband and two children.

The Southwest flight on Tuesday was en route to Texas when its left engine exploded around 11:20 a.m. A piece of shrapnel flew up and crashed through a window, causing the plane to depressurize and partially sucked a woman out the hole. Seven people were treated for injuries, and one person died. There were a total of 143 people on the plane.

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