When her plane was rocked by a massive explosion and oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling, Southwest passenger Gianna Baur was convinced that she would never see her husband again. So, using what she thought were her last few minutes alive, Baur used the in-flight wifi service to contact her spouse, Chad. She even managed to snap a picture of herself wearing an oxygen mask.
“That’s when I started to really panic,” Chad told KXAS-TV. “She said a flight attendant was praying over the loudspeaker, someone else was on the emergency phone screaming for medical help when they landed.”
As the pilot battled to bring the aircraft under control and heroic passengers attempted to revive a woman who had been partially sucked out of a broken window, Gianna updated her husband on the grave situation. The couple even used FaceTime video chat to communicate amid the chaos.
But what do you say to your spouse when you think you have just seconds to live?
“There were a lot of ‘I love you’s,'” Chad recalled in an interview with Dallas Morning News. “She at one point said ‘you were the greatest gift in my life.'”
Chad revealed the initial message he received from his beloved wife:
“They announce we have to land… I’m so scared… flight attendants are checking everyone’s oxygen… it’s so bumpy… it’s an emergency landing,” she texted, before adding, “I love you so much.”
Chad was at the couple’s apartment when he received the startling information from his wife as her plane made an emergency descent. “We just try to say all the things we would want to say to each other if that was the last thing we got to say,” Baur explained. “Me saying goodbye to my wife, who might have minutes left, and her trying to say goodbye to me who may have decades left.”
Here's a look at some of the texts Bay Area native Gianna Baur sent her husband in what she thought were the final moments of her life on yesterday's Southwest flight: https://t.co/Aw6wTeLDyq pic.twitter.com/C78troirnI
— KTVU (@KTVU) April 18, 2018
Amazingly, U.S. Navy veteran and former fighter pilot Tammie Jo Shults managed to guide the aircraft into a safe landing at Philadelphia Airport, despite one of the engines being completely decimated in the explosion. Incidentally, Shults was also one of the first women to fly an F/A-18 Hornet. By the grace of God, the Christian pilot had the presence of mind and elite skill set required to handle an emergency situation that was so perilous.
Now that Gianna, along with 147 others, was safely on the tarmac in Philadelphia, she could finally let her husband know she was safe and well. When she sent him a picture of the mangled engine, Chad was utterly overwhelmed by the whole situation, and overcome by relief that his wife was safely on the ground.
“I couldn’t even wrap my head around what was going on,” he told Dallas Morning News. “It was nuts.”
— John Zuchelli (@tvzuke) April 19, 2018
“I don’t think I cried or even had an emotion until after she said she landed. That’s when I kind of just lost it,” Chad told KXAS.
Upon reflection, the whole ordeal has caused Chad to be eternally grateful for his loved ones.
“It’s not every day, or every year, or every decade that something happens that makes you stop and just be grateful for life and the people you got to live it with, and this was that moment for myself and my family,” he said.
Watch the touching reunion below (and have some tissues close by):