‘There’s a hole and uh, someone went out’: US pilot's call to air traffic control

One person was killed and seven others suffered minor injuries on flight from New York to Dallas when an engine exploded in midair

A Southwest Airlines plane sits on the runway at the Philadelphia International Airport after it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018. Photograph: David Maialetti /The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

A Southwest Airlines plane sits on the runway at the Philadelphia International Airport after it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018. Photograph: David Maialetti /The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

 

One person was killed and seven others suffered minor injuries on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas when an engine exploded in midair Tuesday, shattering a window that passengers said partially sucked a woman out of the aircraft.

The explosion, which officials said happened about 20 minutes into the flight, prompted a desperate effort among flight attendants and passengers to save the woman.

The plane, Flight 1380, which made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport at 11.20 am EST (4.20pm Irish time), quickly lost altitude after the explosion and violently depressurized after fragments from the explosion burst through the window.

Pilot Tammie Jo Shults, a former US Navy fighter pilot was commended by passengers for her cool-headed handling of the emergency. She walked down the aisle and talked to passengers to make sure they were OK after the plane touched down.

“She has nerves of steel. That lady, I applaud her,” said Alfred Tumlinson, of Texas. “I’m going to send her a Christmas card, I’m going to tell you that, with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome.”

In an air traffic control recording during the emergency landing, Ms Shults can be heard saying that part of the plane is missing.

Air traffic control: “Southwest 1380 turn, just start turning southbound there, there’s a Southwest 737 on a 4 mile final will be turning southbound. Start looking for the airport, it’s off to your right and slightly behind you there, and altitude is your discretion.”

Pilot Tammie Jo Shults: “OK, could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers.”

Air traffic control: “Injured passengers okay. And is your plane physically on fire?”

Shults: “No it’s not on fire but part of it’s missing. They said there’s a hole and uh, someone went out.”

Air traffic control: “Um, I’m sorry, you said there was a hole and somebody went out?”

“Southwest 1380 it doesn’t matter, we’ll work it out. The airport is just off to your right, report it in sight please.”

Shults: “Southwest 1380, airport’s in sight.”

Air traffic control: “Southwest 1380 you’re cleared visual approach 2-7 right, contact the tower on 118.5. Southwest 1380, I’m sorry, you cleared visual approach 2-7 left, 2-7 left and tower’s on 18.5.”

Shults: “We’re going on 2-7 left, switching to tower, good day.”

Tower: “Southwest 1380, right turn when you’re able, you wanna stop wherever you need to, it’s fine.”

Shults: “Thank you, we’re going to stop right here by the fire truck, thanks you guys for the help.”

Additional reporting: Agencies.