(CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A Texas rancher says he and a Texas firefighter pulled a woman back into Southwest flight #1380 after a window was damaged following an engine failure.
Tim McGinty told reporters late Tuesday that he helped his wife and a friend put on their oxygen masks before he realized the woman sitting in the row in front of him, identified as Jennifer Riordan, was in trouble on the plane from New York to Dallas that made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
He grabbed her with his right arm and tried to pull her back into the window, but the force from outside the plane was too strong.
McGinty says that’s when Celina firefighter Andrew Needum ran to help and the two were able to pull Riordan back in.
Passenger Alfred Tumlinso watched the two men’s heroic efforts.
“She was out of the plane. He couldn’t do it by himself, so another gentleman came over and helped to get her back in the plane, and they got her,” he said.
Riordan was killed. She was a mother of two and vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of investigators to Philadelphia.
In a late night news conference, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said one of the engine’s fan blades was separated and missing. The blade was separated at the point where it would come into the hub and there was evidence of metal fatigue, Sumwalt said.
The engine will be examined further to understand what caused the failure. The investigation is expected to take 12 to 15 months.
Photos of the plane on the tarmac showed a missing window and a chunk gone from the left engine, including part of its cover. A piece of the engine covering was later found in Bernville, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles west of Philadelphia, Sumwalt said.
As a precaution, Southwest said Tuesday night that it would inspect similar engines in its fleet over the next 30 days.