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Fox News correspondent and former Navy pilot Lea Gabrielle praised Southwest Airlines pilot Tammie Jo Shults for landing a Boeing 737 Tuesday after one of its engines exploded at 32,000 feet.

Investigators probing the incident said metal fatigue may be responsible for the engine explosion, which shattered a window in the aircraft and led to a passenger being "partially sucked out."

Jennifer Riordan, a New Mexico businesswoman and mother of two, was pronounced dead at a Pennsylvania hospital after the plane made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport around 11:20 a.m. ET.

Shults, a former Navy pilot, is being credited with calmly guiding the damaged plane safely to the ground and preventing an even worse tragedy.

"In this particular situation, she obviously took very quick command and made very quick decisions, because this was an extremely complex emergency," Gabrielle said on "America's Newsroom."

She explained that Shults and her co-pilot first had to deal with a rapid loss of cabin pressurization, which meant getting their oxygen masks on and quickly descending to 10,000 feet, so they and the passengers could breath normally when their oxygen ran out.

Bill Hemmer pointed out that Shults is an ace pilot, having previously been one of the first female fighter pilots in U.S. military history, including flying F/A-18 Super Hornets.

"It could have been catastrophic. It really could have. And it sounds like she made extremely decisive actions," Gabrielle said, recalling that she experienced engine failures while flying Super Hornets. 

"Listening to [her] voice on the radio. That's the way Navy pilots are trained to behave, to stay calm -- your first step should be a deep breath -- and then just very cerebrally go through those emergency action items."

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