Southwest 1380: Woman partially sucked out of plane named as Jennifer Riordan

By @chelean on
  • The victim of Southwest Airlines flight 1380, Jennifer Riordan, poses in this undated photo obtained from social media.
    The victim of Southwest Airlines flight 1380, Jennifer Riordan, poses in this undated photo obtained from social media. Facebook/Jennifer Riordan/via Reuters
  • U.S. NTSB investigators are on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane in this image released from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 17, 2018.
    U.S. NTSB investigators are on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane in this image released from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 17, 2018. NTSB/Handout via Reuters
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The woman who was partially sucked out of the Southwest flight 1380 has been identified. Banking executive Jennifer Riordan died in the mid-flight emergency, which saw the aircraft’s left engine failing.

The Boeing 737-700 plane suffered engine failure about 20 minutes after taking off from the LaGuardia Airport in New York on Tuesday around 11 a.m. local time. One of the windows of the plane shattered by what is believed to be debris from the busted engine, sending the nearest passenger, Riordan, almost completely out the window.

Other passengers scrambled to pull the 43-year-old mother-of-two back in. Ranch real estate worker Tim McGinty and firefighter Andrew Needum worked together to pull her back in, while retired nurse Peggy Phillips rushed to her aid to give her CPR for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, even with their heroic efforts, Riordan did not survive.

First reports confirmed that there was a passenger who died, but it was not confirmed then if it’s the same woman who was sucked out of the window. It has since been confirmed that they are the same person.

Captain Tammy Jo Shults

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Tammie Jo Shults, who is currently a Southwest Airlines pilot, poses in front of a Navy F/A-18A in this 1992 photo released in Washington, DC, U.S., April 18, 2018. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Tammie Jo Shults, who is currently a Southwest Airlines pilot, poses in front of a Navy F/A-18A in this 1992 photo released in Washington, DC, U.S., April 18, 2018.  Thomas P. Milne/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters

The commercial aeroplane sadly lost one life, but it could have been more if not for its quick-thinking pilot, Captain Tammy Jo Shults, a United States Navy veteran and ex-fighter pilot. Shults remained calm in the cockpit as she radioed air traffic controllers of their predicament.

She was able to bring 147 passengers and crew to safety, landing the plane at Philadelphia International Airport after an engine died. She was praised by her passengers for her agile and skilful manoeuvring. Alfred Tumlinson, a passenger, told the Associated Press that Shults had “nerves of steel.”

Shults, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and agribusiness in 1983, originally wanted to join the Air Force, which refused to accept her. She joined the Navy instead. She enrolled in Navy flight school in 1985, according to the New York Times, and she became among the first cohort of women pilots to transition to tactical aircraft.

She was assigned to the Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron in Point Mugu, California, after finishing flight school in 1989. In 1993, she left active service, and then the military in 1994.

She later became a pilot with Southwest Airlines. Her husband, Dean M Shults, is also a pilot with the airline.

Apart from Shults, the flight was safer under the circumstances because of the capable crew. Passenger William Madison praised the flight attendants, calling them “brave, composed and helpful” throughout the ordeal, USA Today quotes him as saying.