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April 18, 2018 // NATCA Mourns Loss of Southwest Passenger

Yesterday morning, Southwest Flight 1380 took off from New York LaGuardia, bound for Dallas Love Field. A short time into the flight, there was a failure of the left engine. The resulting incident caused a window above and behind the wing to blow out and started an in-flight emergency situation. This flight landed safely at Philadelphia International Airport thanks to the incredible efforts of the aviation safety professionals both in the air and on the ground.

NATCA’s Critical Incident Stress Management Team members already have reached out to the controllers involved to offer emotional support after this incredibly stressful and sad event.

Tragically, one of the passengers died. Her name was Jennifer Riordan from Albuquerque, and she was a mother of two. It was the first fatality as a result of an incident on a U.S. flight since 2009. We are deeply saddened by the loss of this passenger’s life. NATCA extends our deepest sympathies to her family and our thoughts remain with them and with each of the passengers who were injured.

The flight attendants on this flight were the first to respond to the emergency unfolding in the cabin. By all accounts, the flight crew responded with calm, skill, and professionalism and immediately began working with our members at New York Center to descend and divert to Philadelphia. Our members at Philadelphia TRACON and Tower then worked to clear the airspace and the runway for the emergency aircraft, and dealt with the resulting temporary shutdown of the airport.

We are thankful for the efforts of these professionals. But we mourn the tragic loss of Ms. Riordan. During this morning’s opening of NATCA’s 17th Biennial Convention in Philadelphia, we observed a moment of silence for her.

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