Fellow Texas Baptists cheer on Tammie Jo Shults, who heroically landed Flight 1390 after engine failure.
BOERNE, Texas (BP)— When members of First Baptist Church in Boerne, Texas, heard recordings of radio transmissions from a Southwest Airlines pilot who made a harrowing emergency landing this week in Philadelphia, they recognized the voice as one of their own.
Tammie Jo Shults—the pilot who guided Flight 1380 to the ground April 17 after a midflight engine failure shot debris through a window, killing one passenger—is a recognizable figure at the Texas Hill Country church, which averages 900 in worship. She has led the children’s worship program at First Baptist and taught Sunday School for children, middle schoolers, high schoolers and adults, said Staci Thompson, a longtime friend and administrative assistant in the church office.
“When we heard the voice” in media replays of cockpit recordings, “it was just like talking on the phone. That’s what she sounds like,” Thompson told Baptist Press.
The church was “impressed” but not “shocked,” Thompson said, at reports Shults, 56, landed the plane safely after a 20,000-foot drop in six minutes, then walked down the aisle hugging passengers. The plane was bound from New York to Dallas, and seven of the 144 passengers aboard were injured in addition to the one fatality.
Social media reports by surviving passengers hailed Shults as having “nerves of steel” and being “a true American hero.” One passenger told The Dallas Morning News, “I specifically said to her, ‘Do I get a hug too?’ She said, ‘Of course, I wouldn’t let you by without a hug.’”
Shults’ “biggest goal” amid the emergency landing and subsequent media coverage, Thompson …
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