The woman who died after a Southwest Airlines plane suffered an engine explosion has been identified as a public relations specialist for Wells Fargo.
Jennifer Riordan, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, perished after the left engine of Flight 1380 exploded in midair around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Riordan was named as one of “Three New Mexicans to Know” by Albuquerque Business First in 2016 and was touted as “an amazing community leader, team member, wife and mother.”
“The Wells Fargo family is saddened to learn of the death of our friend and colleague Jennifer Riordan – a Community Relations leader in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Wells Fargo confirmed in a statement. “She was a well-known leader who was loved and respected. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends. Out of respect for the family and their privacy, we’ve nothing more to share at this time.”
Her family has asked for privacy at this time.
“Jennifer’s vibrancy, passion and love infused our community and reached across our country. Her impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured,” the Riordan family said in a statement. “But foremost, she is the bedrock of our family. She and Mike wrote a love story unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident through her children … In her memory – please remember to always be kind, loving, caring, and sharing.”
The married 43-year-old and mother of two had been traveling LaGuardia Airport in New York to Dallas, Texas when an engine exploded, shattering a window and causing a woman on the flight, believed to have been Riordan, to be partially drawn out of the window, according to passengers.
“All of a sudden, we heard an explosion and I come to find out that the engine exploded on the left side of the plane,” Marty Martinez, who was on the flight, told reporters. “That explosion caused one of the windows to explode in row 17 of the plane, which was just two aisles over from me.”
“I thought I was cataloging the last moments of my existence,” Martinez continued. “It was absolutely terrifying.”
The pilot had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Shortly after the landing, the Philadelphia airport tweeted out, “FAA has issued ground stop for planes on the ground at other airports waiting to depart for PHL. Check flight status with your airline. Flights are departing PHL. Passengers should expect delays.”
Riordan was taken to a hospital following the landing, and seven other passengers were treated for minor injuries.
Riordan’s death marks the first fatality involving a U.S. airline since 2009.