Trump praises Southwest Airlines flight crew, passengers

WASHINGTON (AP/WTXF) -- President Donald Trump met with the crew and passengers of a Southwest Airlines flight forced into an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an engine exploded, damaging the fuselage and critically injuring a passenger who was partially sucked out of a window broken by shrapnel.

The White House says Trump wanted to thank the crew for safely landing the damaged airplane. He also wanted to meet passengers who assisted other travelers.

Capt. Tammie Jo Shults and First Officer Darren Ellisor, the pilots, attended, along with three flight attendants and five passengers. 

Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 was headed from New York to Dallas last month when an engine on the Boeing 737 exploded at 30,000 feet.

Shults, a former Navy combat pilot, has declined interviews following the incident. However, she and first officer Darren Ellisor, who were hailed by passengers as "heroes," released a statement to convey their thanks and gratitude in the aftermath of the accident.

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“As Captain and First Officer of the Crew of five who worked to serve our Customers aboard Flight 1380 yesterday, we all feel we were simply doing our jobs,” wrote Shults and Ellisor in a statement released by Southwest.

“Our hearts are heavy. On behalf of the entire Crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss. We joined our Company today in focused work and interviews with investigators. We are not conducting media interviews and we ask that the public and the media respect our focus.”

Jennifer Riordan, a bank executive and mother of two from New Mexico, died from her injuries.

The incident aboard Southwest Flight 1380 marked the first instance of a passenger dying onboard a U.S. commercial airline in nearly 10 years.