- Jennifer Riordan died from blunt impact after being partially sucked out of her seat midflight during Tuesday’s Southwest accident, medical experts ruled.
- The flight, travelling from New York City to Dallas, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after disaster struck.
The woman who died in a midair disaster aboard a Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday was killed by blunt objects smacking into her head, neck, and torso, medical officials have ruled.
The official cause of death for Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old Wells Fargo executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was recorded as “blunt trauma impact.”
Riordan’s upper body was sucked out of a plane window by sudden decompression when an explosion of the plane’s left engine broke her window. She had been wearing a seatbelt.
She was hit by shrapnel flying from the nearby engine, and a nearby passenger said she also smacked into the plane’s fuselage. Fellow passengers helped pull Riordan back into the plane.
The service, Flight 1380, was heading from New York City to Dallas when the engine failed, prompting the pilot to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Experts from the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office gave the assessment about Riordan’s death.
Peggy Phillips, a nurse who was sitting a few rows in front of Riordan, described the moment of impact in an interview with the Philadelphia news station 6 ABC.
Phillips, who spent 20 minutes trying to revive Riordan using CPR, said: “If you can possibly imagine going through the window of an aeroplane at about 600 mph and hitting either the fuselage or the wing with your body, with your face, then I think I can probably tell you there was significant trauma.”
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