El Paso air traffic controller remembers miracle landing

El Paso News

One week after an American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in El Paso, an air traffic control specialist responsible for helping land the plane, talked with KTSM about the hectic experience.

Crystal Lingle told KTSM, “I could not have fathomed the damage on that aircraft. All I saw was the pictures the media had and that just blew my mind that they landed that airplane. The nosecone was basically gone.” 

As KTSM previously reported, flight 1897 was on its way to Phoenix from San Antonio when it was suffered hail damage and had to make an emergency landing in El Paso.

According to Lingle, she started getting the call when the plane was about 40 miles away. She said dispatcher told her, “We have this guy coming to you. This is what happened. His windshield is cracked. He needs to land.”

Lingle said she never met the pilots that were responsible for landing the plane, but wants to thank them for landing the plane safely.

When asked how she feels knowing she helped save the 135 people on-board, Lingle said, “I don’t see it like that and I’ve been called a hero over the last week and a half and it blows my mind because honestly, I was just doing my job.   I think the real heroes in this situation are the two pilots flying that airplane because it’s a miracle that they put that plane on the pavement and 135 people walked away that day.”

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