Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year old mother-of-two and a Wells Fargo executive, was killed when she was returning home from a business trip to New York.
She was the vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo Bank, New Mexico. Her husband, Michael Riordan, was the former City of Albuquerque Chief Operations Officer.
Riordan was on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas when the plane’s left engine exploded about 30 minutes into the flight. Shrapnel from the explosion flew into a window next to her seat and shattered it.
The banking executive was left hanging half outside the shattered window as fellow passengers desperately scrambled to drag her back inside the aircraft, which was carrying 149 people.
She was rushed to hospital immediately after hero pilot Tammie Jo Shults took the plane into a sharp descent and made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport at 11.27am. Authorities confirm that she later died while seven other people were injured.
Some of her fellow passengers did all that they could to help her.
Riordan was sitting next to the smashed window and others next to her described holding her down for 12 minutes until the plane landed.
Passenger Alfred Tumlinson, of Corpus Christi, Texas, said he saw a man in a cowboy hat rush forward a few rows ‘to grab that lady to pull her back in. She was out of the plane. He couldn’t do it by himself, so another gentleman came over and helped to get her back in the plane, and they got her’.
Another passenger, Eric Zilbert, an administrator with the California Education Department, said: ‘From her waist above, she was outside of the plane.’
Passengers struggled to somehow plug the hole while giving the badly injured woman CPR.
She was rushed to the hospital once they landed but, unfortunately, died as a result of her injuries.
The city of Albuquerque has lost an active volunteer that made a difference to her community.
The 43-year-old, a graduate from the University of New Mexico, was heavily involved with her local community and volunteering.
Riordan managed Wells Fargo’s community projects and its annual United Way Community Support Campaign.The devastated family of Riordan have released a statement paying tribute to her.
‘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 though her children.
‘We are so appreciate 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 the 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.’
The mayor of Albuquerque issued a statement about Riordan’s tragic death.
Mayor of Albuquerque Tim Keller added: ‘Today, Albuquerque lost a thoughtful leader who has long been part of the fabric of our community. We are asking that everyone respects the privacy of the family at this time.
‘This is a tremendous and tragic loss for Jenifer’s family and many others throughout our city. Her leadership and philanthropic efforts made this a better place every day and she will be terribly missed.
‘We are holding Jennifer and her family in our thoughts.’
Family friend John Benavidez tweeted: ‘My heart is broken with the news of my good friend Jennifer Riordan’s passing. She left a lasting mark on Albuquerque, NM and UNM with her many contributions. If there was ever an angel on Earth, it was Jennifer. Our prayers go out to her family.’
The pilot, former Navy pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, is being hailed as a hero for her quick action and projecting calm during this harrowing situation.
Shults, a former Navy fighter pilot and one of the first women to fly an F-18, quickly brought Flight 1380 to land having calmly told Air Traffic Control: ‘So we have a part of the aircraft missing.’
Asked if the plane was on fire, she said: ‘No, it’s not on fire but part of it’s missing. They said there is a hole and someone went out.’ She added that ‘we have injured passengers’ as she requested medical staff to meet them on landing. Passengers say that after landing the plane, the pilot took the time to speak to all those aboard personally.
Watch video from onboard the plane:
Passengers thought that they were going to die and many prayed and sent goodbye messages to their families.
The National Transportation Safety Board has said a preliminary examination of the blown jet engine shows evidence of ‘metal fatigue.’
Source: Daily Mail
What an ordeal.
Those passengers worked together to try to save her life.
What an amazing story of heroism by the pilot and the fellow passengers.
It is still an unfathomable tragedy for the Riordan family and the Albuquerque community.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time.