One Killed During Southwest Flight Emergency

Horror unfolded in the in the skies over Pennsylvania yesterday as a  Southwest flight 1380 from New York abruptly ended its planned journey  to Dallas. About 20 minutes into the trip, an engine fire was reported  just as the jet was at an altitude of about 32-thousand feet and it  began an emergency descent into Philadelphia.

Witnesses say that something had smashed into a window, shattering it – and the passenger later identified as 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan  – was sucked into the opening. In the resulting chaos, two passengers  pulled Riordan back in and seven others were injured. While the plane  made a safe emergency landing, and Riordan was transported to a local  hospital, but later died. More than 140 people were on board the Boeing  737-700. This was the first fatality on a domestic carrier since 2009.

While the investigation has only just begun, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt  says an initial inspection of the plane has found evidence of metal  fatigue in one of the fan blades of the engine that failed - and one of  those blades has not yet been recovered. Sumwalt added the NTSB is  interested in seeing any photos or videos of what happened. The cowling  of the engine was reportedly found in the area of Bernville,  Pennsylvania.

Riordan, who lived in Albuquerque with her family, is survived by husband Mike and their two young children. The family has issued the following statement:  “Jennifer Riordan has passed away as a result of previously reported  events on Southwest Airlines flight #1380. Jennifer’s vibrancy, passion  and love infused our community and reached across our country. Her  impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully  measured. But foremost, she is the bedrock of our family. She and Mike  wrote a love story unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident  through her children. We are so appreciative of the outpouring of  support from family, friends and our community. We do ask that those who  seek to express their condolences and prayers as well as media outlets  respect our privacy at this time. Our family and friends need this time  to both grieve and celebrate Jennifer’s impact on us all. In her  memory--please remember to always be kind, loving, caring, and sharing."

Southwest Airlines has also spoken out in a written statement as well as a video posted online with remarks from Southwest CEO Gary Kelly.  “We are deeply saddened to confirm that there is one fatality resulting  from this accident. The entire Southwest Airlines Family is devastated  and extends its deepest heartfelt sympathy to the customers, employees,  family members, and loved ones affected by this tragic event. We have  activated our emergency response team and are deploying every resource  to support those affected by this tragedy."

FAST FACT: The flight tracking website FlightRadar24  estimated Southwest flight 1380 descended from 31,684-feet to about  10,000-feet in a little over five minutes in the wake of the incident.  The safe landing is being credited to pilot Tammie Jo Shults. A former Navy pilot, Shults was also one of the first women to fly an F-18. And in the aftermath once everyone was safely on the ground? Shults personally greeted every passenger.

Source: CNN