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Passengers on a Southwest flight describe the shocking moments after the explosion of an engine and force the pilot to an emergency landing. A man aboard tried to rescue the woman who died when she was almost sucked out of an airplane window.
USA TODAY

As one of the first female fighter pilots of the US military, Tammie Jo Shults, it is not uncommon to show "nerves of steel".

Cool, calm and considerate Shults brought its twin-engined Boeing 737 into an emergency landing after the Southwest jet apparently threw overboard a flight from New York's LaGuardia airport to Dallas on Tuesday.

Then she walked down the corridors to personally examine each passenger WPVI-TV

"The pilot Tammy Jo was so great! She landed us safely in Philly," said Amanda Bourman, a co-driver , on Instagram.

Another passenger, Diana McBride Self, wrote on Facebook, called Shults a "true American hero."

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In The painful battle at 32,000 feet killed a woman, Jennifer Riordan from Albuquerque, after being partially sucked out of a broken window. Seven others among the 144 passengers were injured.

Passengers who had prayed, held hands, and sucked on oxygen masks as the plane made a steep descent praised Shults for their quiet demeanor.

"She has nerves of steel," said passenger Alfred Tumlinson, of Corpus Christi, Texas. "This lady, I applaud her, I'll send her a Christmas card – I'll tell you that – with a gift certificate to put me on the floor, she was great."

"The lady's crew, everything, everyone was spotless," he said. "They were so professional in what they did to bring us down to earth."

This coolness was especially noticeable in air traffic control records, in which a female pilot is slowly and quietly informed about the emergency miss a part of the aircraft.

The National Road Safety Council said a preliminary investigation indicated that an engine shovel was breaking due to "metal fatigue".

Shults: "Could you meet us there?" We have injured passengers. "

Air traffic control:" Injured passengers, OK. And is your plane physically in flames? "

Shults:" No, it does not burn. But part of you said that there is a hole and someone is going out.

Air Traffic Control: "Um, I'm sorry. You said that there was a hole and someone went out? Southwest 1380 it does not matter I'll make it outside.

All the while, Shults and the crew took the plane on a steep descent to an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

Her mother-in-law, Virginia Shults, told The Washington Post that as soon as she heard the voice of the Listening to the radio online, she heard, "This is Tammie Jo."

"It was as if she and I were sitting here talking," said Virginia Shults, "She's a very reassuring person."

Born in New Mexico in 1983, graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene, in Olathe, Kan., Where she graduated in biology and agribusiness, Carol Best, a spokeswoman for the University said The Kansas City Star .

She is with Married to one of Southwest's compatriots, Dean Shults, whom she met in the Navy, Shults brother-in-law Gary Shults said her husband confirmed that Tammie Jo had made the emergency landing.

"She is a terrible woman, as sharp as her a skewer ", say Gary Shults of the Associated Press. "My brother says she's the best pilot he knows, she's a very caring, giving person who cares for a lot of people."

According to Reuters, she is quoted on the F-16.net fighter aircraft blog attempting to attend an aerospace career day at high school, but was told that she did not accept girls. After college, she was rejected by the Air Force but accepted by the US Navy for her aviation officer school.

Cindy Foster, a classmate at MidAmerica Nazarene, said the Kansas City Star that even in The Navy Shults was met with "much resistance" because of their gender.

"She knew she had to work harder than anyone else," Foster said. "She did it for herself and all the women fighting for a chance … I'm very proud of her, she has saved many lives today."

Although she was excluded from flying in a combat squadron, she was one of the first female F / A-18 Hornet pilots and flew in a supporting role. She reached the rank of Marine Lieutenant Commander and became an instructor before leaving the Navy in 1993 to join the F-16 Blog Southwest.

A devout Christian, Shults, according to the F-16 blog, said sitting in the captain's seat gave her "the opportunity to testify to Christ on almost every flight".

Southwest Airlines declined to name the crew of Flight 1380, and Shults, who has two children, was not immediately available for comment.

Post: Associated Press

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