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Thursday, April 19, 2018

The female pilot who saved the life of 148 passengers

Por Nina

Tammie Jo Shults, the pilot of the Southwest Airlines plane whose engine failure killed a 43-year-old mother, is considered a hero for her nerves of steel and a perfect emergency landing in Philadelphia that saved the other 148 people on board. Shults was identified as the pilot of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 that was heading from New York to Dallas when the left engine of the 737 plane exploded in mid-flight about 30 minutes after takeoff.

The 56-year-old pilot, a Texas resident and mother of two, was one of the first women to fly hunts in the US Navy in the 1980s and also one of the first to pilot the F-18 Hornet fighter. She maintained an incredible calm in a conversation with the operator of the Philadelphia control tower, minutes before the emergency landing. "Pilot Tammy Jo was amazing! She landed us safe and sound in Philadelphia," wrote passenger Amanda Bourman on Instagram, a mother of three who was traveling with her husband. "This is a true American hero," wrote another passenger, Diana McBride, on Facebook, who celebrated "the knowledge and courage" of the pilot and said that after the landing, Shults "came to speak with each one of us personally."

Users of social networks compare Shults with Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, the pilot of the US Airways flight who landed on the Hudson River in front of Manhattan in 2009 after an accident caused by a bird, saving all passengers and crew . His feat was turned into an Oscar-nominated film, 'Sully' (2016), in which the pilot is played by Tom Hanks.

"Southwest 1380, we have a single engine, we lost part of the ship, so we'll need to decelerate a bit," Shuts says quietly to the operator of the Philadelphia control tower, shortly before landing, in a dialogue broadcast by the channel CBS. "Can doctors expect us on the runway, too? We have injured passengers," he adds. "Is the plane physically on fire?" The operator asks. "No, it's not on fire but it's missing a part," Shults responds in a calm voice, holding back the emotion. "They said there's a hole and someone left."

Everyone told Shults that she could not be a pilot if she was a woman. The Air Force even denied her permission to pass the aviation test, but the Navy accepted her. There Shults grew as a pilot and landed fighters on aircraft carriers at 240 km / h. Eventually, she became an instructor. Although she was not allowed to fly in combat because she was a woman, she was flying like an aggressive pilot, according to a military aviation forum that describes her. Finally, Shults, a devout Christian, left the Navy in 1993 and since then she and her husband Dean reside in the San Antonio area of Texas and work as Southwest pilots.

The woman who died, aged 43, was identified as Jennifer Riordan, of Albuquerque, a mother of two who was vice president of a branch of Wells Fargo Bank in New Mexico. She was sitting next to a window that exploded when she received shrapnel from the engine, she was sucked outside but in the middle of the screams and the oxygen masks that fell, two other passengers - a passenger wearing a cowboy hat and a firefighter, identified by the American press like Tim McGinty and Andrew Needum - managed to catch her and put her back inside the ship.

Riordan was seriously injured. Needum and a nurse tried in vain to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, told the passenger Sheri Sears, but the woman died after being transferred to the hospital. Seven others suffered minor injuries. After the explosion, McGinty tried to cover the hole in the fuselage with his back, holding for about 20 minutes extreme pressure. "Some heroes wear capes, but mine wore a denim hat," his wife, Kristen McGinty, told USA Today.