Federal investigators said Tuesday afternoon that one person was killed after a failed engine forced a Southwest Airline flight to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
The flight, which had taken off from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, had to land when an engine explosion caused a window to break, depressurizing the plane. According to initial reports, a female passenger was sucked toward the broken window and had to be hospitalized after landing.
Albuquerque station KOAT TV later identified the passenger as Jennifer Riordan and confirmed that she had died.
Riordan was the vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo bank in New Mexico and a noted community volunteer, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Her family released a statement on her death, asking for privacy during this time.
Southwest also released a statement about the death on Tuesday, calling the event tragic.
Seven other people were reportedly treated for minor injuries.
Flight 1380 was scheduled to fly to Dallas but made an emergency stop in Philadelphia after an engine on the left side of the plane blew out.
Passenger Marty Martinez told CBS Philadelphia that the sequence of events after the engine exploded was “terrifying.”
“The engine exploded and it broke a window,” Martinez said. “First there was an explosion and almost immediately, the oxygen masks came down and, probably in a matter of 10 seconds, the engine then hit a window and busted it wide open.”
Martinez told CNN he was sitting just a row or two away from Riordan, whose arms and body were sucked toward the broken window.
He said passengers held on to her while nonstationary objects flew out the hole.
Another man relayed similar information from his daughter-in-law, a passenger on the plane, telling NBC Philadelphia that when the window imploded, a female passenger was partially sucked out and other passengers needed to pull her back in.
The aircraft was flying around 32,500 feet when the engine blew out. Aviation expert Arthur Wolk told the station that the plane’s rate of descent indicated that the pilot had control of the aircraft.
Southwest Airlines released this statement about the emergency landing to HuffPost:
“We are aware that Southwest flight #1380 from New York La Guardia (LGA) to Dallas Love Field (DAL) has diverted to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). We are in the process of transporting Customers and Crew into the terminal.
“The aircraft, a Boeing 737-700, has 143 Customers and five Crewmembers onboard. We are in the process of gathering more information. Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our Customers and Crews at this time.”
Boeing responded with more information about the aircraft:
The Federal Aviation Administration released this statement about the landing:
Passengers also posted photos on social media of the damaged plane.
They also thanked the crew.
This story has been updated with news that a person on the plane has died. Please check back for updates.