They did absolutely everything they could under the most nightmarish of circumstances. When the left engine of Southwest Airlines flight 1380 blew up and sent shrapnel hurtling through 43-year-old mother Jennifer Riordan’s plane window. Due to the sudden change in pressure, Riordan was being sucked out of the cabin. That’s when two fellow passengers, Andrew Needum and Tim McGinty, sprang into action.
Discarding their own oxygen masks, McGinty, a Texas ranch hand, and Needum, a firefighter, grabbed hold of Riordan and tried to pull her back into the cabin. Despite the tremendous force thrusting her out the window and into the thin, -60-degree atmosphere, the two men were able to haul Jennifer back inside the aircraft. She was unresponsive and gravely injured. That’s when Peggy Phillips, who was sitting in front or Riordan, offered her assistance and immediately began administering CPR.
Phillips, a registered nurse, explained the traumatic injuries sustained by Riordan in the horrific incident.
“If you can possibly imagine going through the window of an airplane at about 600mph, and hitting either the fuselage or the wing with your body, with your face. … I can probably tell you that there was significant trauma to the body. Significant head trauma, facial trauma,” Phillips explained to ABC News.
Andrew Needum is a firefighter with the Celina Fire Department. After helping McGinty pull Riordan’s body back into the plane, he then helped Phillips give Riordan CPR.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Andrew Needum! His actions under extreme pressure were exceptional! We are so honored that is is a part of our Celina Fire Department family!…” Celina Fire Department posted on Twitter.
Tim McGinty is a ranch hand who was on the flight with his wife Kristin when he realized something had to be done to try and rescue the stricken passenger.
“We heard the loud explosion and then we felt the plane drop like you lose your stomach and you’re on a horrible roller coaster and everything was loud and shaking and the mask drops but we didn’t know the window had blown out,” Kristin McGinty, a Texas Farm Bureau insurance agent, told KWTX-TV Wednesday.
“I’m sure it was only a few minutes but it felt like a lifetime,” Kristin said. “You‘re just trying to pray and breathe.”
Then, Tim noticed something was wrong. “We heard screams and Tim just ripped his oxygen mask off,” Kristen explained. “My husband went behind and grabbed her with his right arm and pulled as hard as he could but he just couldn’t get ahold of her,” Kristin said. Needum jumped in, and the pair were able to drag Riordan back inside.
“My husband loves God and believes our purpose here is to love fiercely and to serve others,” Kristen told USA Today. “Some heroes wear capes, but mine wears a cowboy hat.”
Kristin posted a heartfelt message on Facebook after returning to her hometown of Dallas, Texas:
“Now that we are home and safe, the reality of the nightmare we lived through is sinking in. Tim and Andrew pulled Jennifer back into our aircraft as it descended and Peggy gave CPR. They are all heroes who put others before themselves today. My husband lives his life for others every day, and today was such a strong reminder that life is so precious and that there are good people all around us.”
“God bless them all and we thank God for his care in landing our plane. Southwest did a great job in what was a horrific accident. I pray for Jennifer’s family as they mourn their loss and I thank God for His provisions and our safety. All I kept thinking was do my people know I love them? Have I shown them? Will I get the chance to again? Thank you Lord for another chance to live your purpose here!”
Please pray for the Riordan family as they come to terms with this devastating loss.