Back to Squawk list
  • 51

Husband of Southwest Airlines victim speaks out about tragic incident

The heartbroken husband of the woman partially sucked out of a Southwest Airlines flight exchanged one last “love you” with her before she died — and recalled the moment he had to tell their children, “Mommy’s not going to come home.” Michael Riordan broke his silence a week after Jennifer, the mother of his two children, died April 17 after an engine suddenly exploded at 32,000 feet, blasting a shower of debris through the cabin. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

sparkie624 24
Maybe I am just old fashion from an archive from the past... But this just seems wrong...

"“The chaplain at the hospital called and said," - Why would you do this over the phone... I mean really... what happened to the days when you would get a visit from Authorities... This just seems so impersonal and kind of like saying.... "Oh BTW, your wife did today in an accident" which is basically what happened. In the past officials would get the message to authorities who would then go visit the family or person and usually have a friend with them for support....

Maybe I am just an old foggie living in the past... But this seems so wrong in so many ways!
linbb 12
We are now living in something years back one could never have imagined. Lucky it wasn't a facebook post or one of the other social media ways of doing things such as a text.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Shocking. Maybe it was the fastest direct way open to them
Ken Hardy 9
Very sad, just shows how fragile life is, the odds of her dying like this were millions to one but it happened, we should all be thankful for each day.
sharon bias 7
If you watch many cop shows, the police still do death notifications. Worst part of their job. But this was such a major news event, they needed to notify him quickly before he did read it on Twitter or Facebook. It was sad all around.
sparkie624 1
He had already seen it on the news.. There was time for a visit... He already new it, it was already over the news!
Never let reality get into the way of the weak mental well being and fragile emotions of a modern US Citizen. Maybe they can install a crying room at a local university in her memory.
Leon Artac 0
Watch Cops! Really? You think that's real stuff. Get a grip. They cut out the blood, beatings and cussing.
Ricky Flynt 7
The airline could have made one phone call to their hometown police department to arrange an in person visit to pass the news. That would have been more appropriate in my opinion. God bless this heartbroken man and his children who will be forever anguished by the thoughts of their loved ones final moment on earth. Rest easy.
In the many TV pictures shown of the passengers wearing their oxygen masks, did you see how many had the mask only over their mouths. Guess it is correct that many pay no attention to the safety briefing. They were probably breathing in through their noses and out through their mouths...Darwin Candidates?
Cindy Savage 3
Just to give everyone a sense of how delicate your brain is, you can die falling off a bike and hitting your head. Let's say the debris broke the window without penetrating the window. Now you have a partial ejection of your head and upper body out of the window where you are buffetted by winds in excess of 450 mph and temps of -65. Does your head hit the window frame and kill you instantly? Or let's say there was debris contacting her head when the window broke. Now you have blunt trauma at gunshot velocity impacting an undetermined amount of her head. Neither scenario seems survivable. Kudos to the personnel who did CPR, tho. In my job as an ER doc, I have had to tell many people that I could not save their loved ones. There is no good way to do this, a phone call hurts just as much as a face to face.
sparkie624 0
Good info... So many people don't realize how important it is to protect your head!
B. J. 2
Seems when I logged in, the post I had written disappeared.
Mythbusters did do a show about catastrophic decompression of an aircraft. They got a fuselage sealed it up, compressed it and caused something to shoot thru a window. I don't remember if it was just a bullet or if they tried to break out a whole window, what the air volume in the A/C was, what the air pressure differential between A/C and outside and so forth was, but they 'proved' that you couldn't be sucked out. This was shortly after the airplane from Hawaii (?) had a huge section of skin torn off over the ocean.

As for notifying family, only if you are a public high visibility person does anyone show up at your door upon death. When my adopted son from Russia who had the true Russian super fatalistic attitude about death was accidently drowned in the Russian River, near Napa, Cal. we got a call (phone) from the local sheriff's department late in the evening. He would have loved the irony.
sparkie624 2
I remember that episode... They were correct... A bullet hole will not cause rapid decompression. They were proving that firing a gun would not cause rapid decompression.... However, they never tested a catastrophic window failure, and we certainly proved this time that... Yes you can be sucked out.
Leon Artac 0
BJ: Sorry for your loss. I know what that river can be like. I fell out of an overturn canoe in that river and was surprised on how fast the river moves and I'm a very good swimmer. For a second I thought I would be sucked down but another in the group pulled me up. Yes, you can be sucked out! The flight attendant on that Aloha flight went out through the hole in the cabin roof. The only reason no one else was lost was because they were belted in and by the time the roof came off they were down to around 10,000 feet and there was no more O2 to suck out. The pressure had equalized.
Henry Matias 3
Am I missing something, how come there has never been a mention about seatbelts. Would she be alive if she was belted in her seat.
Unless I’m going to the washroom, my loved ones and myself are always in our seatbelts regardless of what the overhead sign says. That would be more sad if this is the case that she wasn’t. Perhaps airlines should incourage my practise.
bbabis 4
All a seatbelt did was give someone a better chance to grab her but she was going to be killed or seriously injured. At that pressure differential and airspeed only a NASCAR restraint system and HANS device could have prevented serious injury of someone sitting next to that window.

[This poster has been suspended.]

WhiteKnight77 1
A 5 point harness system used in racing would have held her in place, there is no doubt or speculation about it. Now, a HANS device requires the wearing of a helmet so it can be attached to it. I do not see anyone wanting to wear a helmet to fly outside of those in the military.
sparkie624 1
Agreed... It comes a point when you have to balance risk to safety to comfort!
sparkie624 -2
No... Not speculation... Keep in mind the seat belt is to prevent you from damaging the over head panel with your head in Turbulence or Clear Air Turbulence.... Just to keep you seated... When you are sitting next to the window and it goes out, it is basically like a vacuum cleaner. It will suck the contents right out from under that seat belt... It is very very lucky that her body was not totally ejected from the a/c! That is a lot of suck that does not waste any time....
paul trubits -3
On SWA, you get to pick your seat when you board. 14A is a great seat if you like to look out the window. RIP!
Bryan Jensen 2
I always pick an isle seat for two reasons. I can stretch my legs and in the unlikely event of a window breach I am farther away from that monster vacuum cleaner trying to purge from the aircraft.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Bryan Nethery 3
That is incorrect. There have been multiple news reports that she was, in fact, wearing her seatbelt. It just takes a quick google search to find them.
Bryan Nethery 1
In fact, you asked the same thing last week and I answered it then too... are you looking for some kind of official press release?
Without seeing an autopsy report (God forbid), she might have actually been hit by fragments of the window and/or the engine part. I was most shocked by the photographs of the side of the plane behind the broken window - I can think of only one source for the discoloration trailing back...

May God hold the dad and his kids.
sparkie624 0
It was stated that she died of "Blunt Force Trauma" to the Head. She had a Broken Neck.
Bryan Jensen 0
Anytime we are onboard an aircraft the seatbelt should be fastened. Sudden unexpected turbulence could propel you upward against the overhead baggage bin and break your neck. I don't know if the violent outflow from that window shattering could have sucked her out from under the seat belt, but without the belt you would instantly go out that hole. It is like a vacuum cleaner times 1000.
sparkie624 0
It very well can!
Leon Artac -2
I heard that she was wearing her seat belt. It wouldn't have made a difference since her upper body would have been sucked out. The belt kept her entire body from going out. When we fly we head for the back near the rear door and take an isle seat. Always wear a seat belt. If that doesn't work you're going to die!


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
This website uses cookies. By using and further navigating this website, you accept this.
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.