Jennifer Riordan, a New Mexico mother who was on a business trip to New York City, was identified as the passenger who died after being partially sucked out of a window during a Southwest Flight 1380. She filled her Facebook page with photos with her husband, children, and on trips.
Riordan’s death occurred after an engine blew on the plane, blowing out a window. Although she didn’t get pulled completely out of the plane, the 43-year-old business executive with Wells Fargo was horrifically killed in the tragedy. Riordan “was pulled out of the plane up to her waist with her blood splattering the windows,” NBC Philadelphia reported. “Heroic” passengers tried to save her to no avail.
“Jennifer’s vibrancy, passion and love infused our community and reached across our country,” her family wrote in a statement. “Her impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured. But foremost, she is the bedrock of our family. She and Mike wrote a love story unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident through her children. We are so appreciative of the outpouring of support from family friends and our community.”
KOAT-TV identified the deceased passenger as Riordan, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was a married mother of two children who had extensive volunteer work in the New Mexico community.
Passengers have given terrifying accounts of what happened on the Southwest plane flying from New York to Dallas before it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Authorities confirmed that one passenger had died, but they had not formally confirmed Riordan’s name. According to KOAT-TV, Riordan “was taken to the hospital but died from her injuries.”
Riordan had tweeted about her business trip to New YOrk City.
Jennifer Riordan was an accomplished businesswoman who worked for Wells Fargo as a vice president of Community Relations.
“Jennifer has over 25 years of community relations and communications experience and joined Wells Fargo in 2008,” reads a biography for her on the United Way of Central New Mexico website. “She is responsible for reputation management, volunteerism and community involvement and supporting local and regional non-profits though the company’s generous corporate giving program of over $2.3 million (NM, El Paso and Greater TX).”
On Twitter, she described herself as “proud Team Member. Wife, mom of two, baseball fan, wine and coffee lover, passionate about my community.”
The United Way site explained that Riordan worked with non-profits in New Mexico and Texas. “Jennifer manages Wells Fargo employee volunteer and board service to non-profits in New Mexico and Greater Texas working with nearly 2,400 employees in addition to representing the company on various boards in the community and oversees the annual United Way Community Support Campaign.”
Facebook Live videos and photos from passengers capture the horror inside Southwest Flight 1380 after, one report says, the woman – now identified as Riordan – was nearly sucked out of the plane. Some passengers reported that they thought they were going to die – and one, Marty Martinez, posted a Facebook Live video that showed his terror – before the airplane managed to land safely. There were also reports from passengers that a passenger suffered a heart attack and that the woman was hit by shrapnel. Those accounts – unconfirmed by authorities – initially led to confusion about whether the lone person who died on the plane, now identified as Riordan, was the same woman who was partially pulled out of the plane window.
Here are some of one eyewitness’s photos:
One photo shows the window broken out.
The plane managed to land safely. Jennifer Riordan was a well-regarded woman in the community. She served on numerous boards and in volunteer positions, one appointed by the New Mexico governor. She “currently serves on the boards of Junior Achievement of New Mexico, New Mexico First, The Catholic Foundation and Annunciation Catholic School,” the United Way biography for her reads.
“She was appointed by the Governor of New Mexico to serve as a Commissioner for the State of New Mexico Office of Volunteer Engagement and Board of Trustees for the New Mexico Natural History and Science Museum. She serves on the Living Cities Integration Initiative council working to support entrepreneurs in New México and is a member of PEO Chapter X. She was awarded the Samaritan Counseling Center’s New Mexico Ethics in Business Young Leader Award along with the Hautepreneurs Leader Honor both in 2015.”
According to NBC 10, “the jet violently depressurized when a piece of an engine flew into and broke a window” and “a female passenger was partially sucked out of the plane when the window imploded.” That account came from the father of a passenger.
“One passenger, a woman, was partially … was drawn out towards the out of the plane … was pulled back in by other passengers,” the passenger’s father told NBC10. The incident occurred on the morning of April 17, 2018.
Passenger Marty Martinez, a digital marketing adviser and CEO, shared photos and videos on Facebook from inside the troubled flight. He also shared a series of terrifying Facebook live videos and wrote with one video, “Something is wrong with our plane! It appears we are going down! Emergency landing!! Southwest flight from NYC to Dallas!!” You can watch his videos below and throughout this article, although they are garbled at times due to technology issues.
Martinez told CNN, of the older female passenger sitting next to the window: “She wasn’t like sucked out of the window or pulled out. But her like arms and her body were sucked, like sucked in that direction, from my vantage point. So you see people, from the back of the seat, holding onto her, you know, trying to keep her contained.”
Riordan had “a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from the University of New Mexico (1999) and an associate’s degree from Champlain College in Vermont (1994),” the United Way says. She also left behind a young family.
“She is a mom of Averie (12) and Joshua (10) and has been married to her husband Michael for 21 years,” says the bio. Riordan wrote on Facebook of her husband, “My love. My life. My gift.” In 2016, she wrote on Facebook, “Thankful for this amazing man on this birthday week. Michael Riordan, you make my heart happy, you are my everything, you make me a better person! Thanks for being you! Happy birthday week! I love you!”