A woman has died after being partially sucked out of a plane window that smashed when one of the aircraft's engine exploded mid-air.
43-year-old Jennifer Riordan was sitting in a window seat on the Southwest Airlines flight from New York's La Guardia airport to Dallas, Texas when the engine combusted. According to witnesses the plane's left-side engine blew, causing one window to smash and the cabin to depressurise. The force of this depressurisation partially sucked Riordan, a mother-of-two who had been in New York for a business trip, out of the window.
Passengers were able to pull her back in and proceeded to give her CPR, but the businesswoman - who the BBC reports was vice-president of the bank Wells Fargo in Albuquerque, New Mexico - died as a result of the incident.
In an air traffic control recording released by NBC News, the plane's pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, can be heard saying: "We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we're going to need to slow down a bit." When asked whether the plane was on fire, Shults replies saying no, but adds: "They said there is a hole and someone went out."
Thankfully, the pilot managed to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia, delivering the remaining 148 people on board to safety, but on the flight have since spoken about how they believed they were all going to die.
Marty Martinez, 29, who was on the flight, described how he paid $8 to connect to the internet so he could Facebook Live the Boeing 737-700's terrifying descent. "I wanted to reach the people I love", he later explained on Facebook.
In the footage, Martinez can be seen inside the plane cabin with oxygen masks deployed all around. Speaking to the Toronto Star about why he chose to film what he believed were his last moments, he said: "I had no reason to be hopeful...as the plane was going down, I whipped out my credit card and bought Wifi. I thought that was my only avenue to get a message to the outside. I was just in shock.
"I felt like I had minutes left. I was bracing for an explosion. And then I saw the runway. It was only when we had hit the ground and you could tell the plane was slowing down - there was just a sigh of relief and cheers across the plane. Everyone was just so grateful to be alive."
Jennifer Riordan is the first passenger to have died on a US commercial flight since 2009.
With additional reporting from Associated Press.
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