An airline passenger who was killed Tuesday when an engine explosion caused a window to break died of blunt impact trauma to her head, neck and torso, according to the Philadelphia medical examiner.
James Garrow of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health told reporters Wednesday evening that Jennifer Riordan’s death was ruled accidental.
Riordan, a banker and community volunteer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 from New York to Dallas when a jet engine on the left side failed and its debris crashed into the window.
The engine failure happened at about 32,000 feet, about 20 minutes after the jetliner left New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Although Riordan was wearing a seatbelt, her body was partially sucked out the window soon after the explosion, according to The New York Times.
Fellow passenger Max Kraidelman said Riordan’s upper body ended up outside the plane.
“The top half of her torso was out the window,” Kraidelman told the Times. “There was a lot of blood because she was hit by some of the shrapnel coming off the engine after it exploded.”
Passengers and flight attendants struggled to drag Riordan back into the aircraft, he said. When she was finally safe inside, she was seriously injured and unconscious.
The National Transportation Safety Board said at a news briefing Wednesday that the plane appeared to come in at a higher rate of speed than usual as it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. The NTSB added that it continues to investigate the engine failure. Officials are also still trying to figure out how the window came out of the plane, according to The Associated Press.
Captain Tammie Jo Shults and First Officer Darren Ellisor said in a statement that they were merely doing their jobs. “Our hearts are heavy. On behalf of the entire crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss.”
Riordan’s death is being mourned in her hometown, according to CNN.
Her employer, Wells Fargo, released a statement calling Riordan “a well-known leader who was loved and respected,” while Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said “her leadership and philanthropic efforts made this a better place every day and she will be terribly missed.”
Riordan is survived by two children and her husband, Michael, who was once the chief operating officer for the city of Albuquerque, according to local station KOAT.