The family of a woman who died after being partially pulled out of a plane window on board a Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday have thanked the hero passengers who pulled her back in the aircraft.
Jennifer Riordan, 43, was pronounced dead at hospital in Philadelphia on Tuesday after the plane she was on made an emergency landing.
The upper half of her body was drawn towards and through an open window after it was shattered by a piece of flying shrapnel from the engine in front of her which had exploded.
The mother-of-two was a banking executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico. While her husband and children were too distraught to speak, her sister-in-law said on Wednesday that she had become a ‘guardian angel’ to somebody in her death.
Jennifer Riordan (above with her husband Michael) died on Tuesday. Her sister-in-law said on Thursday that ‘God’ needed her as she thanked well wishers and the men who stopped her whole body from flying out of the aircraft window
EMT Andrew Needum (left) and farmer Tim McGinty (right) pulled the woman’s body back in the aircraft. Needum and a retired nurse on the plane then performed CPR until the plane had landed but the woman could not be saved
She thanked farmer Tim McGinty and EMT Andrew Needum for pulling her sister-in-law’s body back into the aircraft, saying that they would now be able to have closure by giving her a burial.
‘Thank you. Thank you that she didn’t go flying out the window and we wouldn’t have her. She was much more than a statistic,’ Marianne Riordan told The Boston Herald.
She apologized to those who witnessed the horrific accident, saying they would likely now carry ‘images’ they would rather forget.
‘I’m sorry that they’ll probably have images in their head that they’ll never forget, but Jennifer would be the first to say your job is to keep living, and live well.
‘Obviously, God needed her. Hopefully, she’s somebody’s guardian angel now,’ she added.
Riordan was sitting next to a window which was smashed out when the engine exploded and shrapnel came flying towards the aircraft
Riordan was sitting next to the window. Passengers said the air suction was so strong it pulled the upper half of her body out of the plane
The woman’s husband and children issued a statement earlier in the day calling her the ‘bedrock’ of their family.
It is too soon for them to know if they will pursue legal action against the airline or the plane or engine manufacturer, a family friend told DailyMail.com.
Riordan was on her way back from a business trip in New York City when she died. She was an executive for Wells Fargo where colleagues considered her a natural and effective leader.
Earlier on Wednesday, harrowing details emerged of how retired nurse Peggy Phillips tried to save Riordan’s live by performing CPR once Needum and McGinty had been able to get her body back inside the plane.
Jennifer Riordan’s close friend Tania Armenta told DailyMail.com that there is no legal action against the airline in the works yet
Riordan’s husband Michael said she was the ‘bedrock’ of their family. She was a mother-of-two
Phillips did not want to go into specific detail about the severity of her injuries but she described them as ‘significant’ head and facial damage.
They tried to revive her for 12 minutes until the plane landed and until paramedics rushed on board to take her to hospital.
Pilot Tammie Jo Shults, 56, has been hailed as a hero for making an emergency landing with just one engine.
The Boeing 737-700 was flying at an altitutde of 32,500ft when the left engine suddenly exploded.
The cause of the explosion is not yet clear but investigators have been able to determine so far that one of the fan blades on the CFM56 engine was missing.
It is believed to have separated from the fan hub as a result of metal fatigue which is when a build up of small cracks on metal causes a larger separation.
Southwest Airlines’ CEO released a statement not long after the accident on Tuesday describing it as a ‘sad’ day.
He gave his thoughts to Riordan’s family.