President Trump Meets With Crew And Passengers Of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 At The White House

Andrew Harrer/Sipa USA

President Trump Commends Heroic Crew, Passengers Of Southwest Flight 1380

May 01, 2018 - 2:47 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- President Donald Trump is thanking the crew and passengers of a Southwest Airlines flight for their heroic efforts after one of the plane's engines blew apart at 32,000 feet, hurling debris that broke a window and led to the death of a passenger who was sucked partway out of the 737.

"The actions of the crew and passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 show the great character of our nation -- we've very, very proud of them," Trump said Tuesday.

The president met with the entire five-member crew at the White House, including pilot Tammie Jo Shults who safely landed the crippled jet in Philadelphia.

"Tammie did an incredible job," Trump said of Shults, who was one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots.

Tammie Jo Shults
Andrew Harrer/Sipa USA

He also applauded flight attendants Rachel Fernheimer, Seanique Mallory and Kathryn Sandoval "who displayed exemplary leadership" during the emergency landing.

Trump also honored Southwest Flight 1380 passengers Peggy Phillips, Andrew Needum and Tim McGinty who tried to save Jennifer Riordan from getting sucked out of a window.

"Tim and Andrew risked their safety to pull Jennifer back inside the aircraft; Peggy Phillips a retired nurse helped administer CPR until the plane landed in Philadelphia. While there was nothing more they could do these Americans responded with tremendous bravery," Trump said.

Despite their efforts, Riordan later died. Seven others were injured.

"Our hearts break for the family of the passenger who tragically lost her life, Jennifer Riordan. We send our prayers to Jennifer's husband and their two beautiful young children. We ask God to hold this family close as they grieve the loss of a loving wife and mother. I've seen so much about Jennifer and she must have been a fantastic woman," Trump said.

Southwest ordered an accelerated inspection of all its engines following the deadly accident and said they are expected to be completed by the end of May.

The National Transportation Safety Board believes one of the engine fan blades snapped on the Southwest jet, setting off the deadly chain of events on April 17.

NTSB investigators said the blade was showing signs of metal fatigue — cracks from repeated use that are too small to be seen by the naked eye.

The Federal Aviation Administration has also ordered ultrasound inspections similar jet engines. The directive affects 352 engines on new-generation Boeing 737s, a twin-engine jet that is a workhorse of the aviation industry, used by airlines around the world.

(Copyright 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)