Certain disaster was avoided on Tuesday when Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 headed from New York City to Dallas had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an engine exploded, smashing one of the plane’s windows with flying shrapnel and injuring at least seven passengers. The woman who was sitting right next to the blown out window was briefly partially sucked out, before being pulled back in by “several heroic gentlemen,” who administered CPR, according to one witness. One person died during the incident, with reports suggesting it was a female passenger who was almost sucked through a plane window that was shattered by shrapnel from the exploding engine.
The death toll may have been much, much higher, however, had it not been for the calm and quick-thinking under pressure by the 56-year-old pilot, Tammie Jo Shults — whose name has not yet been released by Southwest but who has since been identified online.
In audio of the air traffic control radio call obtained by NBC Philadelphia, Shults can be heard calmly describing the situation. “We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” she said. Shults then asked for medical personnel to meet the plane on the ground to help injured passengers.
When asked whether or not the plane was on fire, her response was chilling. “No, it’s not on fire but part of it’s missing,” she relayed. “They said there is a hole and … and, uh, someone went out.”
The terrifying incident comes just days after another Southwest Flight was grounded in Panama City after attempting to land in New Orleans in severe weather. As was the case with Flight 1380, those on board thought they were headed to certain death as many called family to says their goodbyes.