“My brother says she’s the best pilot he knows. She’s a very caring, giving person who takes care of lots of people.”Passengers said she walked through the aisle and talked with them to make sure they were OK after the plane touched down.

U.S. transportation Secretary Elaine Chao extended her sympathies to the loved ones of the passenger who died, Jennifer Riordan, of New Mexico, and praised the pilot, crew and others who were on board.

“I commend the pilots who safely landed the aircraft, and the crew and fellow passengers who provided support and care for the injured, preventing what could have been far worse,” Chao said in a statement.

Travelers said fellow passengers dragged Riordan back in as the sudden decompression of the cabin pulled her part way through the smashed window.

National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt said it was the first passenger fatality in an accident involving a U.S. airline since 2009.

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Wallace and AP business writer David Koening reported from Dallas.