Southwest Pilot Tammie Jo Shults Recounts Harrowing Landing: 'We Were Simply Doing Our Jobs'
Shults also expressed sympathy for Jennifer Riordan, the mom of two who lost her life as she was nearly sucked out of the plane.
Hero pilot Tammie Jo Shults, who landed her crippled airliner after a passenger was nearly sucked out of a window, is breaking her silence about the ordeal.
“We were simply doing our jobs," the Southwest Airlines captain said of herself and her co-pilot, Darren Ellisor.
She also extended her condolences to the family of the woman who lost her life.
"Our hearts are heavy," she said. "On behalf of the entire crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our co-workers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss."
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt was among those praising the flight crew.
“The pilots seemed very calm and assured of what they were doing," Sumwalt said in a statement. "My hat is off to them. They behaved in a manner that their training would prepare them for.”
Passenger Jennifer Riordan died after being partially sucked out of the window of the Boeing 737.
"She was just a beautiful person from the inside out," her mom told CBS This Morning. "She’s just an angel."
Texas firefighter Andrew Needum was one of the two men who desperately battled to pull Riordan back into the plane.
"Tammie Jo, the pilot — professional. Professional in all aspects and her crew — amazing job," Needum said.
Needum’s wife, added that the former fighter pilot made a point to speak to every single passenger after the plane landed.
"She comforted everyone," she said. "She was amazing, she’s an amazing person."
Shults' heroism was reminiscent of Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, the hero from 2009's "Miracle on the Hudson" in January 2009, when a US Airways flight landed in the Hudson River just off midtown Manhattan.
When reached for comment, Sullenberger said he too was impressed by Shults and her co-pilot.
"[They did] a really good job and remained calm, communicated well and had good teamwork," he said.
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