'Oh, here we go,' Southwest pilot recalled saying after hearing a bang: Part 1

With 144 passengers aboard, pilots Tammie Jo Shults and Darren Ellisor took off from New York on the Dallas-bound flight that made an emergency landing in April.
7:28 | 05/12/18

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Transcript for 'Oh, here we go,' Southwest pilot recalled saying after hearing a bang: Part 1
Reporter: It is a Tuesday morning in New York City. 144 passengers have a flight to catch. 144 people, 144 stories. Heading for Laguardia airport, and a southwest airlines flight to Dallas love field. Peggy Phillips, a school nurse, had been visiting her daughter and a grandbaby in New York. The baby's almost crawling now. Reporter: Now it was time to go home to Texas. And so you know, we kissed, we hugged, and then out the door and in the cab and off to the airport. Reporter: Hollie Mackey, an associate professor of women's and gender studies at the university of Oklahoma. Marty Martinez, owner of a Dallas digital marketing agency, leaving New York after some meetings. Matt tranchin, eager to get home to his wife Molly. We are expecting our first child in six weeks, seven? Seven weeks? Six weeks. Reporter: Tim and Amanda bourman. Hallelujah. Reporter: Tim is a pastor at a lutheran church in queens, new York. And we have three daughters. Tayley is six, Brooke is four and felicity is two. Reporter: Now they're off to a conference in Dallas, just the two of them. I have never been away from my children before, overnight. She wept when we walked away from felicity. She's our two year old. So, it was gonna be hard. I knew right away from that. Reporter: Texans Tim and Kristin McGinty, wrapping up a long weekend in New York. His favorite thing was the Broadway play that we saw, wasn't it? Maybe. It was good. I really enjoyed it. Reporter: What'd you see? Yeah. It's called "Beautiful." ??? One fine day you'll look at me ??? Reporter: Andrew and Stephanie needum, she a kindergarten teacher, he a firefighter paramedic, were visiting from small town Celina, Texas. It's the first time I had been up there. First time she had been up there as well. We were mesmerized by the high-rise buildings, so. Reporter: Breathtaking new York, and the heartbreaking 9/11 memorial. Those guys were Goin' up those flights of stairs to help others, to rescue others. You know, what greater way to lose your life than to be serving others? Reporter: The planes, the towers, the sacrifice still on their minds as they headed for their own flight. Firefighter, nurse. Pastor, professor and one more. Jennifer Riordan, 43, a married mother of two, and bank executive. The night before, she'd tweeted this photo saying what a great stay she had in the city. Now she was homeward bound, connecting in Dallas on the way to Albuquerque. What were you going to do that night? What were your plans? My son had a baseball game that she was going to arrive. It had already started but she was going to come join us over there and watch little joshy play some baseball. Reporter: You said you had a sense of foreboding. I was getting -- just a feeling inside that -- that something wasn't right. Reporter: Waiting at the gate, southwest airlines flight 1380, a Boeing 737-700. The giant jet engines already idling as the crew gets ready. Three flight attendants prepare up in the cockpit, captain tammie Jo Shults and first officer Darren Ellisor. No indication of any problems whatsoever? No. Right. Reporter: She and Darren had already flown from Nashville to New York that morning. She had begun her day as always, with the bible. I always text my family a scripture of the day. Reporter: Although she and Darren are both long-time southwest employees, they had met for the first time only the day before. On this morning, tammie Jo got them all off to a good start. I wanted Starbucks, and I asked tammie Jo if she'd like me to go buy Starbucks for us. And she goes, "No, you have too much work to do." So she said, you know, for me to go to the aircraft and then she, ten minutes later shows up with five Starbucks, you know, and her roller bag, you know, balancing act to get on the plane. Reporter: You weren't originally scheduled to fly that day, were you? No, I traded for the trip with my husband. I'm not train' with him anymore. Reporter: Shults' husband Dean is also a southwest pilot. They had traded flight schedules. I help coach my son's throwing event. And so he had a track meet that I really wanted to go to. So Dean, being the amazing husband he is, said, "You go to the track meet, I'll switch and take your trip." And so that's why I was on the trip. Boarding will start in a few more minutes. Reporter: Unlike most airlines, southwest does boarding differently. No reserved seats. Passengers line up and board in sections, where you sit is the luck of the draw. Superstitiously I saw row 13 was open, and I thought, "Well, I don't wanna sit there. Reporter: She continues to row 14. At first taking seat 14-a. I had actually initially taken the window seat. And then I'd had a really large cup of coffee and thought, "I'm gonna be inconveniencing everybody because I'm gonna need to get up multiple times." And so I had shifted over and decided to take the aisle seat. Reporter: And that's a seat where Jennifer Riordan ended up sitting. Yeah. Reporter: The random effect of fate, or coffee. It was very much, like, choose your own fate, you know? Um, because I got to choose my own seat. And there were plenty of other passengers that walked by row 14 and decided to sit in another, in another seat. Reporter: In the cabin, the usual instructions. What to do in case of what nobody wants to think about. Tammie Jo taxis the plane from the gate to the runway and hands it over the Darren. The captain always taxis. So I've got control of it on the ground, and then if it's his turn to fly we switch off. Then we do a positive control of the aircraft, and he took off. Reporter: A few words of welcome from the captain and they were heading down the runway. Everything was very routine. Reporter: And then it wasn't. That's correct. Reporter: 144 passengers, 144 stories, about to come together for a singularly harrowing ordeal at 32,000 feet. A journey that will stay with them the rest of their lives. Still ahead, the boom. We had a large bang and a rapid decompression. My first thoughts were actually, "Oh, here we go." Reporter: A broken window, and the desperate fight to save the passenger in seat 14-a. The flight attendant she just yelled it dy know cpr?"

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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