Mother-of-two dies after being partially sucked out of plane window
- Southwest Airlines jet apparently blew an engine at about 30,000ft and was then hit by shrapnel that smashed a window and damaged the fuselage yesterday
- One woman killed after suffering head injuries when she was partially sucked out of a window
- Other passengers pulled her back into aircraft
- Flight was on way from New York to Dallas - made emergency landing in Philadelphia
A woman has died after a US passenger plane blew an engine at 32,000ft and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window, causing her to be partially sucked out of the window.
The incident sparked a desperate scramble by passengers to save the woman from getting pulled out of the plane by the sudden decompression, but she later died and seven others were injured.
The pilots of the Southwest Airlines plane, a twin-engined Boeing 737 flying from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, took it into a rapid descent and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia as passengers using oxygen masks said their prayers and braced for impact.
The dead woman was identified as Jennifer Riordan, a bank executive and mother of two from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
"I just remember holding my husband's hand, and we just prayed and prayed and prayed," said passenger Amanda Bourman, of New York.
"And the thoughts that were going through my head of course were about my daughters, just wanting to see them again and give them a big hug so they wouldn't grow up without parents."
Ms Bourman said she was asleep when she heard a loud noise and oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. She said the plane was fairly quiet because everyone was wearing a mask, while some passengers were in tears and others shouted words of encouragement.
Passenger Marty Martinez told CBS News about the incident.
He said it became clear something was wrong about 30 minutes into the flight.
"All of a sudden, we heard an explosion," he said.
He said it appeared the plane's left engine exploded and broke a window on the aircraft.
Martinez said a female passenger, "an older woman", was injured as a result of the explosion.
"There is blood everywhere," Martinez said from the plane.
"I thought I was cataloging the last moments of my existence the whole way ... It was absolutely terrifying," he said.
- Read more: 'They say there's a hole and uh... someone went out' - Communications between Southwest pilot and air traffic control
Martinez described how the aircraft descended for 10-15 minutes before making an emergency landing. He said he and some of the plane's other passengers thought they wouldn't land safely, and a lot of people were crying.
"It felt like it was free-falling going down.
NTSB sending a go-team to Philadelphia to investigate Southwest engine incident. Chairman Robert Sumwalt will hold a short briefing at Reagan National Airport Hanger 6 at 3 pm ET.— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) April 17, 2018
"Of course, everyone's freaking out. Everybody's crying. It was the scariest experience."
He said they were told to brace for the emergency landing.
"It was the most terrifying experience," he added.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert Sumwalt confirmed that one person was killed.
Seven other people were treated for minor injuries, Philadelphia fire commissioner Adam Thiel said.