Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
WASHINGTON – Two extremely revered girls with deep ties to New Mexico – one nonetheless dwelling and one now deceased – acquired glowing recognition from President Donald Trump within the Oval Office on Tuesday throughout a ceremony honoring the crew and passengers aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which blew an engine and made an emergency touchdown in Philadelphia final month.
During the Oval Office occasion, Trump singled out Tammie Jo Shults, a Tularosa native and former Navy fighter pilot, for her heroic composure and talent in touchdown the badly broken aircraft. The president additionally made particular point out of Jennifer Riordan, a beloved member of the Albuquerque group and passenger on the aircraft who was killed within the April 17 accident when particles from the engine tore into the aircraft’s cabin.
“Tammie did an incredible job,” Trump advised a small pool of reporters gathered to cowl the occasion, and later added that “everybody’s talking about” her heroism in touchdown the aircraft.
Shults, now a resident of San Antonio, Texas, beamed as Trump – seated at his desk within the Oval Office – turned to shake her hand.
“I understand you were one of the first women ever to fly tactical fighter aircraft in the United States Navy,” Trump mentioned. “You drew from years of training and safety, and you knew how to land that plane. We salute you and every member of this crew. Thank you very much.”
Trump additionally praised Riordan, the one individual to die within the extremely uncommon accident. She was a spouse and mom of two who labored as an government for Wells Fargo in Albuquerque. More than 1,000 individuals attended Riordan’s memorial final month.
“Our hearts break for the family of the passenger who tragically lost her life,” Trump mentioned, including that Riordan’s family members are grieving “the loss of a loving wife and mother.”
“We send our prayers to Jennifer’s husband and their two beautiful young children,” Trump added. “We ask God to hold this family close as they grieve their loss. She must’ve been a fantastic woman, clearly a fantastic woman.”
Shults has declined media interviews because the accident and didn’t take any questions Tuesday.
Passengers on the troubled flight praised her calm demeanor after the accident, noting how she coolly and compassionately walked down the aisle in an try and consolation them after touchdown. Some have in contrast her to Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who landed US Airways Flight 1549 within the Hudson River in 2009, saving everybody aboard after the aircraft struck a flock of geese.
Shults issued a press release posted on Southwest Airlines’ social media pages together with first officer Darren Ellisor, who was additionally in attendance Tuesday.
“We feel we were simply doing our jobs,” Shults and Ellisor mentioned. “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.”
Shults’ father, Rusty Bonnell, was a farmer and raised his household on a ranch in Otero County. Shults graduated from Tularosa High School in 1979.
The National Transportation Safety Board is analyzing whether or not metallic fatigue prompted an engine fan of the Boeing 737-700 to snap in midflight.
Flight attendants Rachel Fernheimer, Seanique Mallory and Kathryn Sandoval have been additionally honored within the Oval Office on Tuesday.
“You were a little bit nervous up there?” Trump requested the flight attendants.
“Not at all,” they responded, smiling and shaking their heads.