Chilling Details of Fatal Southwest Flight Revealed

NTSB holds hearing on Southwest Flight 1380
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 14, 2018 5:07 PM CST
Chilling Details of Fatal Southwest Flight Revealed
In this April 17, 2018, file photo National Transportation Safety Board investigators examine damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia.   (NTSB via AP)

There was a loud bang, and suddenly the Southwest Airlines jet rolled 41 degrees to the left. Smoke began to fill the cabin, and flight attendants rushed row by row to make sure all passengers could get oxygen from their masks. When flight attendant Rachel Fernheimer got to row 14, she saw a woman still restrained by her lap belt but with her head, torso and arm hanging out a window. Fernheimer grabbed one of the woman's legs while flight attendant Seanique Mallory grabbed her lower body. They described being unable to bring the woman back in the plane until two male passengers stepped in to help. The harrowing details from the April fatal flight were released for the first time as the National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing Wednesday into the engine failure on Southwest Flight 1380, which carried 144 passengers and five crew members, the AP reports.

After several failed attempts to reach the pilots by intercom because of the rush of air and noise, Mallory was finally able to relay the situation to Tammie Jo Shults and Darren Ellisor, who had already planned an emergency landing of the crippled Boeing 737-700 in Philadelphia. "We got (unintelligible words) a window open and somebody—is out the window," Mallory said. According to a transcript, she adds a little later, "Yeah everyone still in their seats, we have people have been helpin' her get in I don't know what her condition is, but the window is completely out." The flight attendants told investigators at least one of the male passengers put his arm out of the window and wrapped it around the woman's shoulder to help pull her back in. Jennifer Riordan was fatally injured; an engine fan blade had broken off and shrapnel struck and shattered the window next to her. (Much more from the hearing here.)

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