NEWS
17/04/2018 20:38 BST | Updated 18/04/2018 11:23 BST

Woman Sucked Out Of Plane As Southwest Airlines Engine Explodes

Jet makes emergency landing in Philadelphia after engine exploded.

A woman killed after a plane’s engine exploded leading to her almost being sucked out of a shattered window, has been pictured and named for the first time. 

Jennifer Riordan was sitting on the left side of the plane when an engine failure on the Southwest Airline flight sent a piece of shrapnel flying back into a window, shattering the glass.

The 43-year-old was said to have hung out of the hole for several minutes amid chaotic scene in the cabin, before two men finally managed to pull her back inside. A nurse then tried to do CPR. 

Riordan was a mother-of-two from New Mexico and worked as a vice president of community relations for the Wells Fargo bank. 

Her family released a brief statement on Tuesday calling her “the bedrock of our family”, The Inquirer reported. 

Wells Fargo
Jennifer Riordan, 43, died on the flight

Her death was the first in a US commercial aviation accident since 2009, according to National Transportation Safety Board statistics.

Seven other people were treated for minor injuries at the scene, said Philadelphia Fire Department.

Flight 1380 had 144 passengers and five crew members on board when the explosion occurred about 20 minutes into the flight from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas. 

The plane made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport at about 11:20am.

Handout . / Reuters
Investigators examine the damaged Southwest Airlines engine

NBC News obtained audio of the plane’s captain, Tammy Jo Shults, telling air traffic controllers: “We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit.”

Asked by a controller if the jet was on fire, Shults responds it was not but added: “They said there is a hole and someone went out.”

Shults has since been hailed a hero

Passenger Marty Martinez told CBS Philadelphia that the sequence of events after the engine exploded was “terrifying”.

“The engine exploded and it broke a window,” Martinez said. 

“First there was an explosion and almost immediately, the oxygen masks came down and, probably in a matter of 10 seconds, the engine then hit a window and busted it wide open.”

Martinez said objects flew out of the hole where the window had exploded, and “passengers right next to her were holding onto (the woman being pulled out). And, meanwhile, there was blood all over this man’s hands. He was tending to her”.

Passenger Matt Tranchin told WPVI that he feared “I’ll never live to see my son born. That I’ll never be able to say goodbye to my wife, say goodbye to parents. But I am. I am. I feel really very fortunate for that.”

Passenger Marty Martinez told CNN: “Everybody was going crazy, and yelling and screaming.

“As the plane is going down, I am literally purchasing internet just so I can get some kind of communication to the outside world,” he said.

Passengers posted photos of the damaged plane.

Another passenger on the flight, Kristopher Johnson, described feeling of the aircraft drop to CNN.

“All of a sudden, we heard this loud bang, rattling, it felt like one of the engines went out. The oxygen masks dropped,” he said. “It just shredded the left-side engine completely. It was scary.”

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said: “We are aware that Southwest flight #1380 from New York La Guardia (LGA) to Dallas Love Field (DAL) has diverted to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).  We are in the process of transporting Customers and Crew into the terminal.

“The aircraft, a Boeing 737-700, has 143 Customers and five Crewmembers onboard. We are in the process of gathering more information. Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our Customers and Crews at this time.”

The aircraft’s maker, Boeing, said on Twitter that it was aware of the incident and was “gathering more information”.

Read about “hero” pilot Tammie Jo Shults here