President Trump has reportedly invited the staff of Southwest flight 1380 to the White House.
Two weeks ago, the Southwest airliner suffered a blown engine at more than 30,000 feet, shattering a window and forcing the pilots to conduct an emergency landing. The heroic pilots completed the landing, saving more than 100 passengers.
The president will look to applaud the heroism of the two Southwest pilots and members of the flight staff who miraculously survived.
One person died during the incident.
Per Fox News:
Tuesday’s meeting comes exactly two weeks after Southwest Flight 1380, bound for Dallas, was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of the engine’s fan blades failed due to metal fatigue. A chain reaction of events followed in which the engine itself blew apart, shattered a window, and caused a female passenger to be partly blown out of the aircraft.
The passenger, a mother of two later identified as Jennifer Riordan, was pronounced dead at a Pennsylvania hospital following the emergency landing.
Southwest Captain Tammie Jo Shults, a former Navy combat pilot, has declined interviews following the incident. However, she and first officer Darren Ellisor, who were hailed by passengers as “heroes,” released a statement to convey their thanks and gratitude in the aftermath of the accident.
The two pilots released the following statement, after the incident:
As Captain and First Officer of the Crew of five who worked to serve our Customers aboard Flight 1380 yesterday, we all feel we were simply doing our jobs.
Our hearts are heavy. On behalf of the entire Crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss. We joined our Company today in focused work and interviews with investigators. We are not conducting media interviews and we ask that the public and the media respect our focus.
Please see below a statement from the Captain and First Officer of Flight 1380. pic.twitter.com/RjoCpucGGS
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) April 19, 2018
Southwest responded to a few people who commented, “The entire Southwest Airlines Family is devastated and extends our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to everyone affected by this event. Our hearts are heavy, and we sincerely appreciate your kind words.”
And, “Our heartfelt sympathy is with all affected by this event, and we are grateful you took to the time to share your encouraging thoughts.”
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said, “It remains a somber time for the Southwest Family following the Flight 1380 accident. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Riordan family. I want to extend my gratitude for the compassion and support shown by our Employees, Customers, and airline peers.”
It remains a somber time for the Southwest Family following the Flight 1380 accident. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Riordan family. I want to extend my gratitude for the compassion and support shown by our Employees, Customers, and airline peers.
— Gary Kelly (@gary_kelly) April 26, 2018
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) April 17, 2018
Following the incident, it was made aware that Captain Tammie Jo Shults was a former U.S. Navy pilot. Her poise during the incident was widely applauded, as the Guardian reports:
After one of its engines appeared to explode in midair, a flight from New York to Dallas ended terribly and tragically with the death of a passenger, Jennifer Riordan, who had been partially sucked out of a broken window. The horror is unimaginable.
It’s the nightmarish worst-case scenario that is never supposed to happen, the stuff of disaster movies, not real life. But the pilot of Southwest Airlines flight 1380, Captain Tammie Jo Shults, landed the plane calmly and successfully, on just one engine, at a Philadelphia airport, saving the lives of 148 people. Riordan’s death was awful; the fact that the incident wasn’t even more deadly was extraordinary.
When Captain Chesley Sullenberger brought US Airways Flight 1549 down on to the Hudson river in 2009, after geese took out both engines, he was lauded as a hero. Tom Hanks played him in a Clint Eastwood-directed biopic, Sully, which seems about as all-American an endorsement of courage and bravery as it’s possible to get. Sully offered his approval of Shults last week, and of the teamwork of the flight crew that saved so many lives, although cautioned that, in his experience, the trauma would long outlast any fuss or attention.
Those present recalled that after the plane had landed, Shults walked through the aisle to talk to them, to see how they were doing. One passenger, Alfred Tumlinson, told reporters that he would send the pilot “a Christmas card, I’m going to tell you that, with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome.” News outlets have delved into her life story and it has turned out to be astonishing. Shults was one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy and was elite enough to fly an F/A-18 Hornet. She flew training missions as an “enemy pilot” during Operation Desert Storm, as women were then still excluded from combat missions.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
I spoke on the House Floor on my resolution commending @SouthwestAir Captain Tammie Jo Shults for her unflappable courage that saved so many lives, and for paving the way for women in aviation. Because of her, generations of women can fight for freedom & save lives, like she did. pic.twitter.com/SMj3FSgiif
— Martha McSally (@RepMcSally) April 26, 2018