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Trump Honors Southwest Flight Victim, Crew With Heartfelt Prayer

President Donald Trump congratulates Southwest Airlines Pilot Tammie Jo Shults for her bravery and expertise in landing flight 1380 last month. (Tech View YouTube channel)
President Trump has honored the crew and passengers of the Southwest Airlines flight that faced an emergency in the air last month.

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

President Trump hailed the crew and passengers "tremendous bravery" but also paid tribute to the passenger who died on the plane.

"Some incredible people behind me," he said. "I want to say that I am honored to have the heroic crew and passengers of Southwest flight 1380 at the White House today."

Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old Wells Fargo bank executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, died of injuries after she was partially sucked out of a window that had been broken by shrapnel.

"Our hearts break for the family of the passenger who tragically lost her life, Jennifer Riordan," Trump said. "We send our prayers to Jennifer's husband and their two beautiful young children. We ask God to hold his family close as they grieve the loss of a loving wife and mother."

The president also praised the pilot, Captain Tammie Jo Shults, for helping to prevent the emergency from becoming much worse.

"Captain Shults, I especially want to commend you for your lifesaving actions," Trump said. "Everybody's talking about it, they're still talking about it, they'll be talking about it for a long time. ... You drew from years of training and safety, and you know how to land that plane. We salute you and every member of this crew. Thank you very much."

Shults is one of the first female Navy fighter pilots and flew training missions as an enemy pilot during Operation Desert Storm. She was able to land the plane safely despite a blown engine, saving the lives of the other 143 passengers onboard.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, many pointed to Shults' sincere Christian faith as her source of strength.

MidAmerica Nazarene University, where Shults graduated, reported that she told a friend after the incident, "We have a Lord that transcends our daily trials. I give God the credit."

And according to an old blog post at, Shults said flying passenger planes give her "the opportunity to witness for Christ on almost every flight."

President Trump went on to thank Celina firefighter Andrew Needham, Tim McGinty and retired nurse Peggy Phillips.

"Your bravery, your compassion ... we really appreciate it. Thank you all," Trump said. "The actions of the crew and passengers of Southwest flight 1380 show the great character of our nation. We are very, very proud of them."

Reprinted with permission from Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, all rights reserved.

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