Passengers say Southwest pilot is a hero

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Passengers say Southwest pilot is a hero. Christie Ileto reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on April 17, 2018.

The airline has decided not to identify the pilot, only saying they have years of experience on the job.

But passengers aboard did identify her on social media, calling her a hero and saying she had nerves of steel.

She was calm, cool and collected, the pilot of Southwest 1380 and safely landed the plane with 144 passengers and 5 crew members on board despite a dire emergency onboard.

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Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said, "They did their jobs superbly today."

He called the incident a tragic loss while praising the crew for landing the aircraft without further loss of life.

"Obviously very grateful there were no other injuries other than one fatality. By all reports I thought the crew acted magnificently," said Kelly.

Passenger Kathy Farnan said, "They were also taking care of everybody with running around with oxygen, making sure everybody had enough oxygen."

The airline will not name the crew members, but it didn't stop passengers like Kathy Farnan from applauding their swift action.

Many onboard even took to social media identifying the pilot as Tammie Jo Shults

Amanda Bourman posted, "The pilot, Tammy Jo was amazing!"

Another writes, (She) came back to speak to each of us personally. This is a true American hero. A huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance, and bravery."

On Twitter, Kristopher Johnson says "These are the heroes of SW 1380. We lost an engine mid-flight and they guided us back to Philly."
Shults is from New Mexico and graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University, and is one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots.

"The pilot was a veteran of the Navy. She had 32 years in, a woman. And she was very good," Farnan said.

The airline says they will make sure the flight crew is feeling fit for duty before they head back in the air.
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