Published on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Flight 1380: First air accident-related fatality for nine years named

Authorities named Jennifer Riordan, a Wells Fargo bank executive from Albuquerque, as the first accident-related fatality on a US airliner for nine years.

She died after almost being completed sucked out of the cabin after a catastrophic engine explosion during a Southwest Airlines flight bound for Dallas.

Debris from the engine smashed the window and other passengers managed to pull Riordan back inside, however she had suffered major injuries.

The pilots took it into a rapid descent and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are still trying to determine why the engine's casing gave way.

The casing is there to prevent flying debris during an engine failure or explosion.

NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said a preliminary inspection showed 'metal fatigue'

Sumwalt said part of the engine covering was found in Bernville, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles from Philly.

Southwest said it would inspect all similar engines in its fleet as a precaution over the next 30 days.

Gary Kelly, Southwest chairman and CEO, issued a video statement which said: "This is a sad day and on behalf of the entire Southwest family I want to extend my deepest sympathies for the family and loved ones of our deceased customer.

"I am immensely grateful there are no other reports of injuries, but truly this is a tragic loss."

He went on to thank the crew for its swift action and for safely landing the plane and said the airline will fully cooperate in the investigation.

Pilot Tammy Jo Shults, a former  fighter pilot in the US Navy, has been roundly praised by passengers for 'nerves of steel' for steering plane down safely to a smooth landing at Philadelphia.

The last fatality caused by an air accident in the US was in 2009 when a Colgan Air jet crashed in Buffalo, NY, killing 49 people on board and one on the ground.

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