Desperate messages sent by passengers as their Southwest Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing have emerged.
One passenger – Jennifer Riordan – died after one of the plane’s engines exploded, sending debris smashing through a window, causing cabin pressure to dramatically drop.
According to eye-witness reports, the 43-year-old mother-of-two from Albuquerque was partially sucked through the window before being pulled back in by fellow passengers who administered CPR.
On landing, Mrs Riordan was rushed to hospital but tragically she later died from her injuries.
Seven other passengers are reported to have received minor injuries in the incident, although many didn’t believe they would survive the ordeal, frantically sending what they thought would be their last goodbyes to loved ones.
Fearing he was about to die on the flight which had taken off from New York bound for Dallas, community organiser Matt Tranchin messaged his wife, Molly, who is eight months pregnant with their baby son.
He has since shared the heartbreaking message in which he wrote:
Our baby boy is everything. You are my everything. Marrying you was the best moment and decision I ever made.
If I don’t make it, please know I am truly happy. Because of you. Your love.
Fortunately Matt made it home safely to his family, speaking to Eyewitness News on ABC7 he said:
[I thought] I’ll never live to see my son born. That I’ll never be able to say goodbye to my wife, say goodbye to parents. But I am. I am. I feel really very fortunate for that.
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Another passenger, Gianna Baur, believing she would never see her husband of three years, Chad, again and, fearing the worst, began to say her goodbyes.
They announce we have to land… I’m so scared… flight attendants are checking everyone’s oxygen… it’s so bumpy… it’s an emergency landing. I love you so much.
At first Chad didn’t really understand what was going on and it was only when Gianna sent him a photo of her wearing the oxygen mask that he began to see the scale of the danger his wife was in.
Speaking to NBC, Chad said:
For the next five minutes, we just try to say all the things we would want to say to each other if that was the last thing we got to say.
Me saying goodbye to my wife, who might have minutes left, and her trying to say goodbye to me who may have decades left.
Thankfully, the next photo the worried husband received was a picture of the blown engine along with Gianna letting him know that she was on the ground and safe.
A video of them being reunited shows their relief at finally being back in each others arms and safe.
The pilot of the stricken plane, Tammie Jo Shults, is being hailed as a hero after made an emergency landing at Philadelphia Airport.
A spokesman for Southwest Airlines said:
Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our customers and crews at this time.
Our thoughts remain with Jennifer’s family at this difficult time.