Southwest Airlines rescuer: 'Felt a calling to help'


Jennifer Riordan's death was caused by blunt force trauma when the 43-year-old bank executive was partially pulled through a gaping hole next to her seat in row 14 as the cabin of a Southwest Airlines flight suffered rapid decompression.

A passenger on the flight says he was part of a group that tried to save her.

Jennifer Riordan, a well-known leader in New Mexico and big-hearted altruist, died Tuesday when a Southwest Airlines jet engine failed midair and its debris blew up a window, CNN affiliate KOAT reported.

The pilots of the twin-engine Boeing 737 bound from NY to Dallas with 149 people aboard took it into a rapid descent Tuesday and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

In a joint statement released late Wednesday, Shults and her co-pilot expressed "appreciation for the outpouring of support", adding "we all feel we were simply doing our jobs". He lauded the work of the pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, and the rest of the flight crew.

"Out of respect for her family, I am going to leave that alone", he said.

Investigators said a blade that broke off mid-flight was showing signs of metal fatigue - microscopic cracks that can splinter open under the kind of stress placed on jetliners and their engines.

She was the first passenger killed in an accident involving a United States airline since 2009.

"To be able to extrapolate that to the entire fleet, I'm not willing to do that right now".

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Southwest told the FAA in October that airlines needed 18 months and that only certain fan blades should be inspected, not all 24 in engines. A catastrophic engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight from NY to Dallas killed one person and forced an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday in a terrifying ordeal for passengers.

The twin-engine Boeing 737 variant involved in the deadly chain of events on Tuesday is among the most common aircraft in the airline industry. (NYSE: GE) and France's Safran, had issued a service bulletin following the 2016 accident recommending that airlines conduct ultrasonic inspection of some fan blades and replace those that failed. A piece of the engine covering was later found in Bernville, Pa., about 112 kilometres west of Philadelphia, Sumwalt said.

The FAA followed with a proposed rule in August calling for inspection of certain fan blades on CFM56 turbofan engines. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, an emergency at that altitude would have only given passengers 30 seconds to wear their oxygen masks.

Witnesses say Riordan's body was half out the window, and McGinty was struggling to pull her back into the plane. After the plane window shattered next to her, Jennifer was almost ejected from the plane.

"These two wonderful men the EMT and a passenger managed to get her back inside the plane and we lay her down and we started CPR".

Videos posted on social media showed passengers grabbing for oxygen masks and screaming as the plane, piloted by Shults, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, prepared for the descent into Philadelphia. "By all reports, I thought the crew acted magnificently", said Kelly. During the incident, he logged on to the in-flight Wi-Fi to send messages to his family.

"Engine failures like this should not occur", Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the NTSB, said Wednesday.

A Southwest Airlines jet sits on the runway at Philadelphia International Airport after it was forced to land with an engine failure, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 17, 2018.