Passengers on the Southwest Airplane That Left 1 Woman Partially Sucked out Explain the Horrifying Ordeal
Following this horrifying incident, frequent flyers everywhere will be reading the emergency instructions a little more carefully. NBC10 reports Southwest Airlines flight 1380 headed for Dallas when engine failure occurred about 20 minutes into the journey. The pilot pulled off a successful emergency landing — but not before tragedy struck on board.
All 144 passengers and five crew members feared for the worst as the plane descended. Here’s what the incident looked like from their perspective.
1. Passengers hear a loud ‘bang’ as the left engine explodes
The plane took off that morning from New York’s LaGuardia Airport at 10:27 a.m., business as usual. And shortly after takeoff, passengers heard a loud “boom” that surprised them.
As passenger Marty Martinez told USA Today, “As you can imagine, everyone on the plane was kind of zoned out … and you hear this boom. And I think everybody’s immediate thoughts were, ‘Did you just hear that?'”
Next: Once this happened, passengers definitely knew something life-threatening occurred.
2. The oxygen masks deployed, leaving passengers confused as to what was going on
The first step in protecting yourself from a severe drop in cabin pressure is to put on the oxygen mask that drops in front of you on the plane. Unfortunately, this photo shared by Marty Martinez shows the majority of the passengers wearing their oxygen masks wrong.
Additionally, Marty admitted to USA Today that he was more concerned with sending a message out to loved ones than he was with his oxygen mask. “And rather than put on my oxygen mask I reached for my laptop in an effort to buy WiFi as the plane was going down,” he said.
Next: A truly horrifying event happened next.
3. An object breaks the window on the left side
As if the cabin depressurizing wasn’t scary enough, another freak incident occurred on board. CNN reports as the left engine broke midair, it sent an object hurling back toward the plane. The object hit a window right above the plane’s left wing, bursting it open.
Gizmodo explains the National Transportation Safety Board’s chairmen says metal fatigue in the fan blades of the engine is likely what caused the explosion — and a chunk of debris was found in Pennsylvania later.
Next: You’ll never believe what occurred once the window broke.
4. A woman is sucked out of the plane before being pulled back in by other passengers
The woman seated next to the broken window was then partially “sucked out,” according to the passengers. “[H]er arms were actually out of the airplane and her head was out of the airplane,” one passenger told NBC10. She was then pulled back in by others nearby.
CBS News explains if Jennifer Riordan, the woman next to the window, was not wearing her seatbelt, she likely would have been sucked out completely. As retired United Airlines captain Ross Aimer explains, the amount of pressure rushing out of a plane opening could cause a larger person to “become so small” that “they go through that window.”
Next: The chaos didn’t end once Riordan was pulled back inside, however.
5. 1 Passenger reports there was ‘blood everywhere’ as others scrambled to cover the window
Thanks to the efforts of others sitting near her, Riordan was successfully pulled back — but the scene was horrifying. One passenger explains to NBC10 that there “was blood on the windows” after she was pulled in.
CNN explains other passengers started stuffing their clothing and jackets into the hole to try and block the severe wind coming from the broken window. But Marty Martinez, who was seated just two rows behind Riordan, explains those items were also sucked out.
Next: A nurse onboard attempted to save Riordan.
6. A nurse said she did what ‘any registered nurse would do’ to try and save the woman
Registered nurse Peggy Phillips tried to help the injured woman on board. As she told ABC News, the situation with Riordan was going on behind her, and she noticed both passengers and flight attendants running to the scene. Then, she heard someone from the back shout that they needed someone who knew CPR — and that’s when Phillips left her seat.
“We began CPR immediately,” she told the news station in an interview. “I was just doing my job,” she continued. Unfortunately, Riodan succumbed to her injuries and died in the hospital.
Next: The sounds and smells on the plane were unlike anything anyone had experienced.
7. The plane was loud and ‘smelled like fire’
The flight crew may have tried to get the attention of panicked passengers, but their efforts were overtaken by the roaring of the wind from the broken window. Passenger Amy Serafini told CNN, “It was very loud, so announcements from the pilot or any other crew would not have been heard.”
Additionally, Martinez said the plane “smelled like fire with ash coming down on everyone thru the vents” as it descended, Gizmodo reports.
Next: The pilot had the most nail-biting job of anyone present.
8. Passengers regard the pilot as a hero for safely landing the aircraft
Tammi Jo Shults, the pilot aboard the aircraft, made the emergency landing in Philadelphia. And now, many regard her as a hero for saving the lives of so many, ABC13 reports.
Shults was one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots and remained “calm, cool, and collected” through the stressful flight. As one passenger wrote, “(She) came back to speak to each of us personally. This is a true American hero.”
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