Jennifer Riordan, 43, was sitting in row 17 of Southwest airlines flight when the plane’s engine reportedly exploded in midair.
The explosion sent engine shrapnel flying into a window, injuring Riordan. She was a mum of two and a bank executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Woman Dies on Plane Headed for Texas After Engine Explodes
According to witnesses, the broken window depressurised the cabin, blowing Riordan partially out of the plane. She later died at the hospital because of blunt impact trauma.
TIME reports that Riordan is the first commercial airline fatality in the United States in nine years.
The plane’s pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, safely made an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport at 11:20 a.m.
A total of 143 passengers were on board.
Woman dies on plane after being sucked out of window. | Screencapped from TIME news video
The cause of the explosion, according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert Sumwalt, was “in-flight engine failure of the left engine.”
Following the freak accident, the management of Southwest Airlines extended their deepest sympathies to the loved ones of Riordan. They also emphasised that their “immediate and primary concern” will be to support Riordan’s family and loved ones “during this difficult time and the difficult days ahead.”
Aside from this, they will be working with the NTSB to identify the “root cause” of the incident so that they can make their future flights safer.
According to a local news report, hundreds gathered at a vigil in remembrance of Riordan at her alma mater, the University of New Mexico.
Her family remembers her fondly for her “vibrance, passion, and love.”
“Her impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured,” Riordan’s family said in a statement. “But foremost, she is the bedrock of our family.”
Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Riordan’s family during this difficult time.
Sources: TIME, Associated Press
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