Jennifer Riordan was making her way home to her husband and two children in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when her Southwest flight suffered an engine failure mid-air. Passengers on Flight 1380, which was headed for Dallas from New York on Tuesday, say they heard a loud explosion from the left engine about 20 minutes into the flight and about 32,000 feet over Philadelphia. The debris caused the window next to Riordan to burst and pulled the 43-year-old mom partially out of the window.
"You hear the pop and she was sucked out from the waist up," one passenger told NBC Nightly News. "There was blood on the windows ... her arms were actually out of the airplane and her head was out of the airplane."
Passengers pulled Riordan back into the plane and performed CPR, but it wasn't enough. Riordan, who was a beloved bank executive and community leader in Albuquerque, died at the hospital after the plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia at 11:20 a.m.
The Boeing 737-700 carried 144 passengers and five crew members. The company said Riordan's was the first death from an in-flight incident in company history.
"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," Southwest said in a statement.
Riordan, who was the vice president of community relations at Wells Fargo, dedicated her life to philanthropy. She has been praised by those who knew her for putting her family and community first. She also served on several boards, including the University of New Mexico Alumni Association and the New Mexico Broadcasters Association.
Several New Mexico-based organizations tweeted about Riordan and her impact on their members:
"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," her family said in a statement. "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. In her memory—please remember to always be kind, loving, caring and sharing."