CNN

Firefighter who pulled Southwest flight victim back into plane 'felt a calling to help'

By Eric Levenson CNN | Posted - Apr 22nd, 2018 @ 10:22am



(CNN) — The Texas firefighter who helped pull a passenger back into the plane during a deadly Southwest Airlines emergency spoke emotionally about the tragedy on Thursday.

"There was a family that lost a loved one," said Andrew Needum, a firefighter from Celina, Texas. "I feel for her family. I feel for her two kids, her husband, the community that she lived in. I can't imagine what they're going through, but I'm thankful that my family is here."

"God created a servant heart in me and I felt a calling to get up and do something," he added.

Needum was one of the passengers aboard Southwest flight 1380, which suffered a mid-air emergency about 20 minutes into the flight. As the plane ascended past 32,000 feet elevation, the left engine failed and parts of it flew off, shattering a window in row 14.

The passenger sitting there, Jennifer Riordan of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was sucked into the hole. Several passengers unsuccessfully tried to pull the woman away from the window and back into the plane, and others stuffed clothes and jackets in an attempt to plug the hole, passenger Marty Martinez said.

After several minutes, a man in a cowboy hat and a second man were finally able to pull Riordan back into her seat, according to passenger Amy Serafini.

A nurse onboard the flight said passengers performed CPR on Riordan but were unsuccessful in saving her.

Riordan, a 43-year-old executive at Wells Fargo, died from blunt impact trauma of the head, neck and torso, a spokesman for the Philadephia Department of Public Health said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating why the left engine malfunctioned on the flight.

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