Captain Tammie Jo Shults and First Officer Darren Ellisor revealed they “pushed worry” away in touchdown deadly flight 1380 of their first public interview because the harrowing April 17 incident that left one passenger dead.
On May 11, the pair’s look on ABC’s “20/20” aired, wherein they revealed new particulars from the cockpit in the course of the tragic flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas’ Love Field. Forced to make an emergency touchdown at Philadelphia International Airport after an engine exploded mid-air, Shults and Ellisor needed to act shortly to avoid wasting the 149 folks on board, People reports.
“My first thoughts were actually, ‘Oh, here we go’ — just because it seemed like a flashback to some of the Navy flying that we had done,” 56-year-old Navy veteran Shults recalled. “But really, Darren is just very easy to communicate with and we had to use hand signals because it was loud and it was just hard to communicate for a lot of different reasons.”
“Your instincts kick in, you know, stuff that you’ve prepared for, you know, ever since you started flying … and this training just takes over,” 44-year-old Airforce veteran Ellisor agreed. “Was there some of that fear? There probably was deep down, but I, you know, pushed it away.”
Shults additionally divulged that she wasn’t wasn’t supposed to be on the flight. She had traded shifts together with her husband, Dean, who additionally works as a Southwest pilot, in order that she might attend their 18-year-old sons’ observe meet.
Twenty minutes after departing, Ellisor mentioned the Boeing 737 shifted left when the plane’s left aspect engine malfunctioned and exploded, blasting shrapnel and particles into the plane’s fuselage. The subsequent chaos “all kinda happened at once,” as smoke billowed from the wing.
Both pilots donned oxygen masks as they labored to land the airplane.
“Darren handled it beautifully and not trying to force the aircraft to stay on altitude and return to that heading, which is kind of a normal pilot reaction, or can be to get back on course,” Shults mentioned.
She additionally shared that the Southwest crew despatched a card to the household of passenger Jennifer Riordan, who died after she partially sucked out of an airplane window.
“Hearing some of the things that her husband has said subsequently that just makes us think what a sweet and rich family they are. We wanted to be respectful and let them have some time to mourn without us being public,” Shults mentioned.
In the wake of the terrifying expertise, Shults and Ellisor say they’ll be pals for all times. The pair had solely met the day previous to piloting flight 1380, ABC studies.
“Going through something like this, it certainly galvanizes your personalities together and your friendship. I mean, we’ll be in touch the rest of our lives,” Shults mused. “Even though he’s going to upgrade and be captain.”