Southwest Flight 1380 suffered a mid-air engine explosion last month. A jagged chunk of an engine part hit a window, causing it to shatter, leading to the death of a woman onboard.
Cory Davids was working at the New York center on Long Island the day the Southwest pilot told him they needed to land immediately.
Davids, along with nine other air traffic controllers, worked together to clear planes from the sky.
"We have thousands of controllers around the country that go in everyday, do their job, leave, and no one hears anything about anything," Davids said.
The 29-year-old says this rare emergency was the most serious he has ever been involved. When word of the emergency first came in, Davids said he couldn't help but think of 9/11.
"When they were putting the masks on, it kind of sounded like a struggle in the aircraft, in the cockpit," he said.
Davids and his co-workers then began the effort to clear planes from the sky to make room for Southwest 1380. The former Florida resident compared it to a busy highway.
"It's like going on I-4 to Orlando from Daytona at rush hour and kind of turning around and going in the opposite direction of traffic and moving all those cars out of the way," he said.
He's thankful he and his crew were able to help save 148 people that day. They only wish it could have been 149.
"Later we found out about the causality, that was terrible. I mean, it was definitely tough to take," Davids said.
Send a News Tip to Action News
Learn More About 6abc Apps