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Woman loses her life after engine disintegrates on Southwest Airlines 737

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By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
4/18/2018 (9 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Hero pilot safely lands plane with one casualty aboard.

A tragic, freak accident has cost the life of an Albuquerque woman on board a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas. 

The accident remains under investigation, but metal fatigue appears to be the root cause.

The accident remains under investigation, but metal fatigue appears to be the root cause.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
4/18/2018 (9 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Southwest, airlines, accident, engine


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A woman has lost her life after a freak accident on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas. The victim has been identified as Jennifer Riodoran, 43, or Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her passing leaves behind a husband and two children. 

The accident occurred when the Southwest Airlines 737 reached 32,500 feet. The port engine disintegrated in flight sending shrapnel into the passenger cabin. 

The window next to Riodoran was shattered and she was partially pulled through it as the cabin instantly decompressed. Heroic passengers pulled her back inside and began to administer first aid and CPR. 

Other passengers donned oxygen masks and some sent text messages to loved ones, believing the plane might crash. One passenger went live on Facebook and posted, "Something is wrong with our plane! It appears we are going down!"

He has mistaken on the second point thanks to the mettle of the 737 captain in the cockpit. 

Hero pilot, Tammy Jo Shults was in command. Shults is a retired Naval aviator and was the first woman to fly an F-18. The audio between her and the tower revealed she had ice-water in her veins as she cooly, quickly, and safely landed the damaged aircraft. Her professionalism and that of her crew is a testament to Southwest Airlines. 

An investigation into the accident has been launched. In a news conference, National Transportation Saftey Board Chair, Robert Sumwalt said a fan blade from the engine was missing. That part of the engine showed evidence of metal fatigue. 

The 737 has an excellent safety record and is the world's most popular medium-size passenger plane. Its engines are incredibly reliable and they power more than 6,700 aircraft around the world. 

The engines are protected by a ring which is designed to contain shrapnel in the event of an accident, but that system did not protect Jennifer Riodoran. The NTSB will investigate why that system failed. 

That the plane was able to land on one engine despite the damage is a testament to the genius of its design. 

In the meantime, prayers, thoughts, and support are going out to the Riodoran family. All are grateful the accident wasn't worse, but nothing can soothe the grief felt by those impacted by this tragedy. May the Riodoran family be kept in all prayer intentions. 

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