The woman killed in the Southwest air disaster died of blunt trauma to the head, neck, and torso

Kieran Corcoran
Jennifer Riordan Southwest plane engine

AP


  • Jennifer Riordan died from blunt impact after being partially sucked out of her seat midflight during Tuesday's Southwest accident, medical experts ruled.
  • The flight, traveling from New York City to Dallas, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after disaster struck.

The woman who died in a midair disaster aboard a Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday was killed by blunt objects smacking into her head, neck, and torso, medical officials have ruled.

The official cause of death for Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old Wells Fargo executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was recorded as "blunt trauma impact."

Riordan's upper body was sucked out of a plane window by sudden decompression when an explosion of the plane's left engine broke her window. She had been wearing a seatbelt.

She was hit by shrapnel flying from the nearby engine, and a nearby passenger said she also smacked into the plane's fuselage. Fellow passengers helped pull Riordan back into the plane.

southwest emergency landing

Mark Makela / Reuters

The service, Flight 1380, was heading from New York City to Dallas when the engine failed, prompting the pilot to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Experts from the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office gave the assessment about Riordan's death.

Peggy Phillips, a nurse who was sitting a few rows in front of Riordan, described the moment of impact in an interview with the Philadelphia news station 6 ABC.

Phillips, who spent 20 minutes trying to revive Riordan using CPR, said: "If you can possibly imagine going through the window of an airplane at about 600 mph and hitting either the fuselage or the wing with your body, with your face, then I think I can probably tell you there was significant trauma."

Click here for Business Insider's other coverage of the Southwest disaster:

A Southwest passenger was partially sucked out of a plane window after an engine explosion — here's how it happened

The pilot who made the Southwest flight emergency landing is a former fighter pilot and one of the first women to fly an F-18

Investigators find missing parts of Southwest engine that exploded

A Southwest jet suffered an eerily similar engine failure in 2016

'Almost everyone' in a photo of Southwest's emergency landing wore their oxygen mask 'wrong,' a former flight attendant says

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