Southwest Airline passenger dies on board

The passenger who died on board a Southwest Airlines on Tuesday has been identified as Jennifer Riordan of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Riordan, 43, was identified as the deceased passenger by an assistant principal at the Albuquerque school attended by her children, the press reported.

Riordan was a vice president of community relations at Wells Fargo since 2008. According to her Linkin page, she was in charge of the bank’s public relations, internal communications, community involvement, as well as its work with non-profits.

Prior to that, she served in a similar position Citi Group. Riordan was a graduate of the University of New Mexico.

Riordan’s death was made public this afternoon during a media briefing by National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt. An hour later, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly confirmed that a passenger had indeed passed away in a video message and press release. However, neither party revealed her identity.

“On behalf of the Southwest family, I want to extend my deepest sympathies for the family and the loved ones of our deceased customer,” Kelly said in the video message. “They are our immediate and primary concern and we will do all that we can to support them during this difficult time.”

Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 suffered a catastrophic failure of its left engine while en route from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas Love Field. The Boeing 737-700 made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport shortly before noon local time.

Photos of the aircraft show the front portion of the CFM56-7B engine including the fan blade had sheared off completely. Shrapnel from the disintegrating engine punctured the fuselage and a window causing the cabin to depressurize. Seven other passengers were also injured, but Riordan is the only fatality to result from the incident.

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