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Official: Mother Dies After Southwest Engine Blows; Woman Nearly Sucked Out

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Officials say a passenger has died after a Southwest Airlines flight made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport on Tuesday morning after a reported engine fire. The plane was flying from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Dallas Love Field.

A bank executive and mother of two from New Mexico has been identified as the woman who died after a Southwest Airlines jet plane blew an engine and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window.

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News of Jennifer Riordan's death was first shared by the assistant principal of the Albuquerque Catholic school attended by her two children.

Jennifer Riordan

In an email to parents, assistant principal Amy McCarty wrote that "the family needs all the prayers we can offer."

Riordan was a vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo bank. She was the wife of Michael Riordan, who served until recently as the chief operating officer for the city of Albuquerque.

The New Mexico Broadcasters Association on social media said Riordan was a graduate of the University of New Mexico and former board member.

The NTSB says it appears the left engine failed in-flight. Tracking data shows the flight was heading west over New York's southern tier when it abruptly turned toward Philadelphia around 11:15 a.m.

The plane landed safely and taxied to a remote area of the runway where passengers were taken off after 11 a.m. Chopper 3 video shows a broken plane window and damage to the left engine of the plane.

Southwest Flight Emergency Landing

BREAKING: Chopper 3 is over the scene of the Philadelphia International Airport where a Southwest Airlines flight from NYC to Dallas made an emergency landing after reports of an engine fire. DETAILS:

Posted by CBS Philly on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Officials say pieces flew out of the engine and pierced the fuselage of the plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board says a preliminary examination of the blown jet engine shows evidence of "metal fatigue."

In a late night news conference, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said one of the engine's fan blades was separated and missing. Sumwalt says the blade was separated at the point where it would come into the hub and there was evidence of metal fatigue.

According to Sumwalt, part of the engine covering was found in Bernville, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) west of Philadelphia.

The plane's recorders have been secured.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel says firefighters responded to an engine fire and fuel leak around 11:10 a.m.

A passenger was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where she later died.

Seven other people were treated on scene for minor injuries.

WATCH LIVE: Officials give update on emergency landing made by Southwest Airlines flight at Philadelphia International Airport. UPDATE: Passenger was critically injured during emergency landing. DETAILS:

Posted by CBS Philly on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Thiel says the scene was placed under control around 12:30 p.m.

Thiel lauded the passengers and crew for how they responded during the incident.

"It is our understanding that passengers onboard the aircraft, in addition to the flight crew and the cabin crew, did some pretty amazing things under very difficult circumstances," said Thiel.

Southwest Airlines says there were 143 passengers and five crewmembers on board the flight.

"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," the airline said in a statement.


Southwest Airlines confirms an accident involving Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. The flight made an emergency diversion to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) earlier today after the Crew reported issues with the number one engine which resulted in damage to the fuselage. 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. The aircraft involved today was a Boeing 737-700 (N772SW) and was enroute from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Dallas Love Field (DAL). In total, the flight had 144 Customers and five Southwest Crewmembers onboard. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Southwest Pilots and Flight Attendants who acted professionally and swiftly to take care of our Customers during the emergency diversion and landing. Finally, Southwest Airlines officials are in direct contact with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to support an immediate, coordinated response to this accident. Southwest is in the process of gathering additional information regarding flight 1380 and will fully cooperate in an investigative process. Please join the Southwest Family in keeping all of those affected by today's tragedy in your thoughts.

Posted by Southwest Airlines on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly commended the flight crew for their "swift action" and thanked first responders and employees at the scene for helping the passengers and crew.

Boeing is also assisting in the investigation.

Marty Martinez, a passenger on the plane, posted a Facebook Live during the emergency landing.

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"Flight attendants ran over calling for passengers to help cover the hole as they broke down and began uncontrollably crying and looking horrified as they looked outside. Plane dropped dramatically and it smelled like fire with ash coming down on everyone thru the vents. Absolutely terrifying, but we are okay," Martinez wrote.

Posted by Marty Martinez on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

In an interview with CBSN, Martinez said an engine exploded and broke a window.

"First there was an explosion and almost immediately, the oxygen masks came down and, probably within a matter of 10 seconds, the engine then hit a window and busted it wide open," said Martinez.

Martinez says a woman was critically injured.

"There was blood everywhere," Martinez explained.

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Martinez told CBSN that he thought it was his last few minutes alive when the plane was free-falling.

"We were probably going down for 10 or 15 minutes. And, of course, everyone is freaking out, everyone is crying. It was the scariest experience," said Martinez.

The airport says passengers should expect delays following the emergency landing. The FAA initially issued a ground stop but it has since been lifted.

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