Hear Southwest Pilot's Chilling Conversation with Air Traffic Control After Engine Explosion
An audio recording from the Southwest plane that experienced a deadly engine explosion on Tuesday paints a chilling picture of the flight’s last minutes in the air.
The tragic incident was caused by one of the engines on Southwest flight #1380 exploding mid flight, blowing out a window and causing passenger Jennifer Riordan to be partially sucked out of the plane. The bank executive and mother of two later died as a result of her injuries.
The plane’s captain, Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy, successfully landed the severely damaged aircraft. In a recording shared by NBC Philadelphia of her conversation with the air traffic controller at that city’s airport, where the plane made an emergency landing, Shults can be heard relaying the details of what’s happened onboard.
“We have part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” she tells the controller, who instructs her at what altitude and direction she can position the plane to make the landing between other inbound flights.
“There’s a Southwest 737 on a 4-mile final, be turning southbound. Start looking for the airport. It’s off to your right and slightly behind you there,” he says.
Shults replies requesting emergency medical workers get to the plane as soon as possible when they get on the ground: “Ok, could you have medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers.”
In their final exchange, the airport worker can be heard asking, “Is your plane physically on fire there?”
To which, she replies, “No, it’s not on fire, but part of it’s missing. They said there’s a hole and someone went out.”
In a lower quality 10-minute recording posted to Sound Cloud, Shultz can be heard telling the ground crew, “We’re single engine,” and negotiating the complicated landing.
A representative for Southwest Airlines declined PEOPLE’s request for comment from Shults and the flight crew, adding: “We couldn’t be more proud of their actions.”