Southwest emergency landing, as told through the conversation between pilot Tammie Jo Shults and Philadelphia air traffic control
What the Southwest pilot told Philadelphia air-traffic controllers before Tuesday's emergency landing
Five minutes before Southwest Flight 1380 made an emergency landing in Philadelphia Tuesday morning, the pilot relayed an alarming message to air traffic control.
"They said there was a hole, and, uh, someone went out," the pilot — identified in media reports as Tammie Jo Shults — said, noting that her injured passengers would need medical attention.
"Um, I'm sorry, you said there was a hole and somebody went out?" the air traffic control official responded, according to an archived recording via liveatc.net. He briefly paused, then said "it doesn't matter, we'll work it out," and guided the aircraft to land moments later.
Southwest Flight 1380, on its way from New York to Dallas, landed in Philadelphia at 11:23 a.m. after an engine failed in midair, shattering a window and pumping smoke into the cabin. One woman was killed, and seven other passengers suffered minor injuries.
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Below is a transcription of the conversation between air traffic control and Flight 1380 as it began its descent into Philadelphia, and you can listen to the audio here:
Air traffic control: 1380 maintain 4,000, and do you need any further assistance from me? [Pause] What type of final do you want? I heard short. Uh, long.
Flight 1380: Yeah, we're gonna need a long final.
ATC: OK, I'm gonna let you drive until you tell me you wanna turn base, OK? So that'll be at least a 25 mile final, longer than that I'll have to do some coordination, but that'll be fine. You let me know when you wanna come in.
Flight 1380: OK, 20 is good and we may need shorter here in a moment. Tell me the runway we're setting up for.
ATC: You're setting up for [inaudible]
Flight 1380: Say that again.
ATC: Southwest 1380, you'll be landing 2 7 left, 2 7 left today, and you just let me know when you need to turn base. Right now, I only have one person in front of you, which is a Southwest, but I'm sure he'll pull off if you need to go right in.
Flight 1380: OK
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ATC: Southwest 1458 clear visual [inaudible] keep your speed up. I'd like you to join the ground before we turn her base.
ATC: Southwest 1380, I got 1458 on frequency, I just cleared him for the approach. Southwest 1380, I understand your emergency. Let me know when you wanna go in.
Flight 1380: Yeah, we have, uh, part of the aircraft missing, so we're gonna need to slow down a bit.
ATC: Southwest 1380, speed is your discretion. Maintain any altitude above 3,000 feet, and you let me know when you want to turn base.
Flight 1380: Alright, down to 3,000 [inaudible]
ATC: Absolutely, you just let me know anything you need.
[ATC communicates with other aircrafts, telling one to increase its speed so it can land before Flight 1380. The operator tells other planes to maintain altitude and reduce speed.]
Flight 1380: Southwest 1380, like to turn, uh, start turning inbound.
ATC: Southwest 1380, turn, uh, just turn southbound there … start looking for the airport, it's off to your right and slightly behind you there and, uh, altitude is your discretion. Use caution for the downtown area, maintain — I advise you to maintain at or above about 2,200 per DMVA.
Flight 1380: OK, could you have the medical meet us there on the runway, as well? We've got, uh, injured passengers.
ATC: Injured passengers, OK. And are you — is your airplane physically on fire?
Flight 1380: No, it's not on fire, but part of it's missing. [Pause] They said there was a hole and, uh, someone went out.
ATC: Um, I'm sorry, you said there was a hole and somebody went out? [Pause] Southwest 1380, it doesn't matter. We'll work it out there. So the airport's just off to your right, report it in sight, please.
Flight 1380: Southwest 1380, airport's in sight.
ATC: Southwest 1380, your clear visual 2 7 right. Southwest 1380 I'm sorry, clear visual 2 7 left.
Flight 1380: We're going on 2 7 left.
[ATC tells other aircraft they may have to shut down the airport and divert them elsewhere due to an "alert 1"]