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Trump 'very proud' of crew of troubled Southwest flight

President Donald Trump talks to Southwest pilot Tammie

President Donald Trump talks to Southwest pilot Tammie Jo Shults and first officer Darren Ellisor as he met the crew and passengers of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 in Washington on Tuesday. Credit: Bloomberg / Andrew Harrer

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump met Tuesday with the crew and passengers of Southwest Flight 1380, calling their actions on the troubled flight last month an example of “the great character of our nation.”

Trump, in a meeting in the Oval Office, praised the response of pilot Tammie Jo Shults, who steered the plane to safety on April 17 after an engine explosion blew out a window, killing passenger Jennifer Riordan. The Dallas-bound flight had departed from LaGuardia Airport when Shults and first officer Darren Ellisor were forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia following the explosion.

“The actions of the crew and passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 show the great character of our nation,” Trump said. “We’re very, very proud of them.”

On the chaotic flight, several passengers rushed to aid Riordan, a mother of two, who was partly sucked out of a window near the failed engine. The president recounted how passengers Tim McGinty and Andrew Needum helped pull Riordan back into the cabin, and he lauded nurse Peggy Phillips, who administered CPR on Riordan until the plane landed.

“These Americans responded with tremendous bravery,” Trump said. “Your bravery, your compassion are truly appreciated.”

The president offered his prayers and condolences to Riordan’s husband and children, saying that from what he has heard, “she must’ve been a fantastic woman.” Riordan, a Wells Fargo executive who lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, had been in New York City on a business trip.

Trump also thanked the crew members on hand — Rachel Fernheimer, Seanique Mallory and Kathryn Sandoval — saying they “displayed exemplary leadership.” He asked them if they were “a little bit nervous up there,” and they shook their head. no. One of the women responded: “Not at all.”

“They said you were calm and strong and cool,” Trump said.

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