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'I Give God the Credit': The Prayers That Miraculously Landed Southwest Flight 1380


The plane shook and rattled. The passengers prayed. The pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, fought to land it safely.

Stories of bravery and desperation are continuing to come out after that harrowing incident on a recent Southwest Airlines flight. 

While every passenger counts Shults as a hero, those closest to her say it was her faith in God that helped her land that plane. 

"We have a Lord that transcends our daily trials. I give God the credit," Shults reportedly told her friend, Cindy Foster, her college roommate at MidAmerica Nazarene University

"Like many of our alumni, Tammie Jo Shults exemplifies all that MNU is about," MNU Director of Alumni Kevin Garber said in a statement. "I think her strong Christian faith combined with her tenacity and persistence kept her calm in the face of a terrifying situation."

If you're a passenger in a free-falling airplane, your only option is to pray. Fervently. 

That's exactly what many people aboard Southwest's Flight 1380 did when their plane's engine blew out at 30,000 feet Tuesday.

"I grabbed my wife's hand and I started praying: 'Dear Jesus, send some angels. Just save us from this,'" Timothy Bourman, a pastor from Woodside, NY, told The New York Times. "I thought we were goners."

Meanwhile, the only thing his wife Amanda could think of were their three daughters age 2, 4, and 6. 

"The thoughts that were going through my head, of course, were about my daughters, just wanting to see them again and give them a big hug so they wouldn't grow up without parents," she said.

After connecting her phone to the plane's Wi-Fi, Amanda texted Pastor Bourman's father to tell him what happened and to relay what she thought would be their last words to their children. 

"Pray. The plane blew an engine. We are going to try to land. Tell the girls we love them and that Jesus is with them always," she said. 

The blown engine destroyed one of the plane's windows, killing one passenger. 

Across from that window was Sheri Sears, who said a quick desperate prayer. 

"If this is your will, God, please let me go quickly. Don't let me suffer," she said. 

Shults, the pilot of that plane, is also a praying woman. In fact, she is a Christian known for putting her faith first. She once said that being a captain gives her "the opportunity to witness for Christ on almost every flight."

"Everybody is talking about Tammie Jo and how cool and calm she was in a crisis, and that's just Tammie Jo," Rachel Russo, who attends church with Shults, said. "That's how she's wired."

Passengers described the former US Navy fighter pilot as having "nerves of steel" during the chaos before miraculously landing the plane. 

"That lady, I applaud her,"  Alfred Tumlinson, of Corpus Christi, Texas told the Times. "I'm going to send her a Christmas card, I'm going to tell you that, with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome."

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