Hero Southwest pilot: I switched flights with husband that day

2018-05-11 14:04
President Donald Trump shakes hands with pilot Tammie Jo Shults as he meets with crew and passengers of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 in the Oval Office of the White House. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

President Donald Trump shakes hands with pilot Tammie Jo Shults as he meets with crew and passengers of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 in the Oval Office of the White House. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The hero US pilot who landed a stricken Southwest Airlines passenger jet which lost an engine mid-flight was not even supposed to be on the plane - she has revealed her husband was originally scheduled to man the controls.

In her first television interview since the April 17 incident, Tammie Jo Shults told ABC News that her husband had switched with her at the last minute so she could attend their son's school athletics competition.

The 56-year-old US Navy veteran's husband Dean, also a Southwest pilot, was originally supposed to be the captain on Flight 1380 from New York to Dallas that day.

"I traded for the trip with my husband. I'm not trading with him anymore," Shults laughed in an interview with ABC News' 20/20, excerpts of which were released on Thursday.

"Dean, being the amazing husband he is, said: 'You go to the track meet, I'll switch and take your trip.' And so that's why I was on the trip," she said in the interview, which will air in full on Friday.

'Large bang'

Shults said everything was normal until the plane reached about 9 753m, when she and her co-pilot heard a "large bang" - the engine exploding - and rapid decompression began.

"My first thoughts were actually: 'Oh, here we go.' Just because it seems like a flashback to some of the Navy flying that we had done," Shults said.

"We had to use hand signals, because it was loud, and it was just hard to communicate for a lot of different reasons."

The pilots donned oxygen masks and after the safe landing, Shults greeted passengers personally as they filed out.

"My mother had told me: 'If I'm flying, I want to know what's going on.' So I thought I would treat them like I would treat my own family," she said.

The engine explosion on the Boeing 737-700 saw shrapnel shatter a window, partially sucking a 43-year-old banking executive out of the plane. The woman later died.

US President Donald Trump met the crew and passengers at the White House, praising the "incredible job" Shults did in landing the plane safely in Philadelphia with 149 people on board.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    us  |  air travel

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.