Tuesday 22 May 2018

'They say there's a hole and uh... someone went out' - Communications between Southwest pilot and air traffic control

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

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A Southwest Airline flight with engine failure made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

The flight from New York to Dallas, Texas made an emergency landing after crew reported damage to one of the engines, as well as the fuselage and at least one window.

A passenger who was partially sucked out of the cabin was seriously injured. The incident sparked a desperate scramble by passengers to save the woman from getting pulled out of the plane by the sudden decompression, but she later died and seven others were injured.

A transcript of the conversation between the pilots and officials on the ground shows one of the pilots asking for emergency services to ready for the landing.

Pilot Tammie Jo Shults says: "OK, could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well. We've got injured passengers."

In response, air traffic control asked: "Injured passengers okay. And is your plane physically on fire?"

Ms Shults replied that it isn't but explained that "part of it is missing".

She added: "They said there's a hole and uh... someone went out."

Air traffic control: "I'm sorry, you said there's a hole an somebody went out?"

The plane was met by emergency services when it landed.

The dead woman was identified as Jennifer Riordan, a bank executive and mother of two from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ms Riordan's body was removed from the plane before passengers disembarked.

Passengers commended Ms Shults, a former US Navy fighter pilot, 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."

Amanda Bourman, of New York, said she was asleep near the back of the plane when she heard a loud noise and oxygen masks dropped.

"Everybody was crying and upset," she said. "You had a few passengers that were very strong, and they kept yelling to people, you know, 'It's OK! We're going to do this!'"

US National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said that the engine will be shipped for a detailed examination.

Seven passengers were treated for minor injuries.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News