Source: David Maialetti, NBC News

A woman sitting on the left side of a Southwest Airlines plane leaving from New York and destined for Dallas on April 17 was sucked through the window after something from the engine apparently broke and smacked into the window causing it to shatter.

Passengers aboard the Southwest flight desperately attempted to pull the woman, Jennifer Riordan, 43, back into the plane, and two men were able to get her back in her seat. A nurse was called, and CPR was performed. Riordan later died reportedly from blunt impact trauma, according to authorities.

Those aboard the terrifying flight reported other passengers yelling and screaming as oxygen masks dropped, objects began flying out the hole and outside air began rushing in. Many people tried to plug the hole with jackets and other objects but to no avail. After struggling to gain control, the pilot was able to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

Of the 149 passengers, seven on board were injured during the rough landing but were released with minor injuries. In an update from the National Transportation Safety Board, it was revealed that pieces of a broken engine fan blade triggered the accident when it snapped off due to metal fatigue or microscopic cracking. After investigating Southwest maintenance records, it appears the fan blades in the failed engine had made more than 32,000 flights and more than 10,000 since being overhauled in 2012.

Passengers on another Southwest plane were startled in late April when a layer of a three-layer window cracked during a flight. Pilots safely landed that plane in Cleveland.

While it was reported last year by To70, a Dutch-based aviation consultancy, that the chance of a plane being involved in a fatal accident is one in 16 million, recent incidents are worrisome.

It’s the job of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to certify that all aircraft operating in the United States are airworthy. FAA’s other major functions include reviewing the design, manufacture and maintenance of aircraft, setting minimum standards for crew training, establishing operational requirements for airlines and airports, and conducting safety-related research and development work.

The actions of reckless or negligent airline personnel or maintenance crewmembers can lead to tragedy. Attorneys at Parker Law Firm hold negligent individuals or corporations accountable. If you or a loved one is suffering from an injury sustained in an accident, download Brad Parker’s free book on Auto Accidents, Personal Injuries and Wrongful Death Lawsuits.

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