A Southwest Airlines pilot who was forced to make an emergency landing on Tuesday relied on her faith to keep calm in the tense situation.
Charisma News reports that Tammie Jo Shults had to think fast when the plane she was piloting en route to Dallas from New York City lost one of its engines while airborne at 32,000 feet. Shults was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
She radioed the Philadelphia air traffic controller, calmly saying, “So we have a part of the aircraft missing so we’re going to need to slow down a bit.” She also told personnel at the Philadelphia International Airport that they would be needed an ambulance for injured passengers.
Shults was able to safely land the plane in Philadelphia, although one passenger died after she was nearly sucked out of a broken window.
Many of the passengers commended Shults on her poise in the face of disaster. “The pilot Tammy Jo was so amazing! She landed us safely in Philly,” said passenger Amanda Bourman on Instagram. “God sent his angels to watch over us. I actually heard someone say, there is a God!!”
Shults herself identifies as a Christian. She gained experience as a pilot while in the U.S. Navy, flying F-18 fighter jets. Her skills landing planes at high speeds certainly helped her bring her passengers to safety on the Southwest flight.
Shults also said she views her career as a way to shine a light for Christ. She says she is given “the opportunity to witness for Christ on almost every flight.”
In 1994, she married Dean Shults, at the time a fellow naval aviator in the A-7 Corsair II. Her husband also joined Southwest Airlines as a pilot in 1994. Together, they have two children and the couple lives in Boerne, Texas. Shults is a devout Christian, teaching Sunday school and helping the needy such as refugees from Hurricane Rita.