Southwest Airlines: Investigators look at engine wear and tear in jet tragedy

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Except for it being his birthday, Tuesday was "a quite normal day" for Jim Demetros of Stamford - until he heard a tremendous boom on the left side of the airborne Boeing 737 flying from NY to Dallas.

Passengers on the flight desperately tried to save Riordan from getting sucked out of a smashed window that had been hit by shrapnel following engine failure.

Earlier on Wednesday, the agency said it is looking for photos and videos of the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737.

Passengers performed CPR but Riordan later died of her injuries.

The plane was scheduled to travel onto San Francisco, where it was to depart on Wednesday and land at Chicago Midway about 11 a.m.

NTSB investigators at the scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane.

Tammie Jo Shults' name has not been officially released by Southwest Airlines, but passengers who were on the flight have identified her as the pilot.

Passengers struggled to plug the hole while giving the badly injured woman CPR. Action News has learned that Shults was among the first female fighter pilots for the U.S Navy. Family, friends and community leaders are mourning the death of Riordan, a bank executive on a Southwest Airlines jet that blew an engine as she was flying home from a business trip to NY.

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As the plane descended steeply but steadily toward Philadelphia, the cabin was noisy from the open window, but the passengers were mostly quiet, maybe because they had their masks on, said passenger Amanda Bourman, of NY.

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 NY to Dallas that made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

She also posted an image of the ruined engine as the plane sat on the tarmac.

McGinty says that's when Texas firefighter Andrew Needum ran to help and the two were able to pull the woman back in.

Riordan, the wife of former City of Albuquerque Chief Operations Officer Michael, was the vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo bank in New Mexico, and had been on a business trip for the bank at the time of the explosion.

The engine's cowling was found about 70 miles from where the plane landed, Sumwalt said.

State police spokesman Trooper David Beohm says anyone who believes they have found debris should call the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Allentown.

Spokesman James Garrow of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health said Wednesday evening that Jennifer Riordan's death was ruled accidental.

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Riordan, a banker and community volunteer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 from NY to Dallas when a jet engine on the left side failed and its debris crashed the window.

Bourman said she was seated near the back and was asleep when she heard a loud noise and oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling.

On Tuesday morning, as the flight descended toward Philadelphia, some passengers scrambled to put on oxygen masks while others hurried to buy internet access so they could send a last message to their children and families.

The plane went from an altitude of 31,684 feet to about 10,000 feet in a little more than five minutes, according to data from

But after similar engine failures in August 2016 and on Tuesday at Southwest, Marks questioned whether there is concern about problems with the airline's inspection program and its oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration.

"It's very unusual", said an official with the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB investigators said one of the engine's fan blades broke off from the hub during the flight.

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