Woman who tried to save lady on Southwest airlines flight shares harrowing experience

Hollie Mackey desperately tried to save Jennifer Riordan, the mother killed on Southwest Airlines 1380.
Hollie Mackey desperately tried to save Jennifer Riordan, the mother killed on Southwest Airlines 1380. Photo credit: Facebook/Hollie Mackey

A woman who tried to save the young mother killed on Southwest flight 1380 has spoken of the moment she tried to stop her being sucked through the window. 

Last Tuesday 42-year-old Jennifer Riordan was killed when the flight she was on from New York to Dallas had an engine explode. 

Debris from the Boeing 737's left engine damaged the window beside Mrs Riordan, causing her to be partially sucked her out of the plane. 

She later died of blunt impact trauma to her head, neck and torso.

Hollie Mackey was sitting in the aisle seat on Mrs Riordan's row when the terror unfolded. 

She told People Magazine how her and a teenage girl between them desperately tried to stop Mrs Riordan, a mother of two, from being sucked out of the plane. 

"I grabbed onto Jennifer's belt loop area and wrapped my arm around her waist, and tried to pull her in. The little girl did, too," the associate professor at the University of Oklahoma said.

"It was really loud, you couldn't hear. We tried yelling for help, we tried, but you couldn't hear anything."

Ms Mackey said she felt helpless and believes it was the seatbelt that kept Mrs Riordan from being sucked out of the plane completely.

"It momentarily crossed my mind it could crash," she says. "Then I thought, 'Well, I can't do anything about that, so I might as well focus on what I can do something about and hope for the best.' "

Two Texas firefighters helped pull an unconscious Mrs Riordan from her seat. She was then given CPR by a retired nurse for 20 minutes before the plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

The NTSB (National Transport Safety Bureau) has begun investigating the incident and believes metal fatigue on the 18-year-old plane resulted in the damage of an engine blade mid-flight.

Mrs Riordan's family have established a memorial website where people can donate to causes that were important to her.