Central Texas man tried to save woman sucked out jet’s shattered window

Andrew Needum (left) and Tim McGinty pulled the woman back into the cabin. (Photo courtesy of...
Andrew Needum (left) and Tim McGinty pulled the woman back into the cabin. (Photo courtesy of Kristin McGinty)(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 18, 2018 at 11:26 AM CDT
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Brandon Resident Tim McGinty, who was returning home with his wife Kristin aboard a Southwest Airlines jet when a window was shattered by debris from a blown-out engine helped pull a woman who was sucked partially out of the plane back into the cabin.

Jennifer Riordan, 43, of New Mexico, was fatally injured in the terrifying incident at 30,000 feet in the air Tuesday aboard the Boeing 737 on a flight from New York to Dallas.

The McGintys were sitting one row in front and across from Riordan when the engine blew out and the window shattered.

“We heard the loud explosion and then we felt the plane drop like you lose your stomach and you’re on a horrible roller coaster and everything was loud and shaking and the mask drops but we didn’t know the window had blown out,” Kristin McGinty, a Texas Farm Bureau insurance agent, said Wednesday.

The plane’s emergency oxygen masks dropped, and Tim McGinty, a 6-foot-5 rancher, who was wearing his signature cowboy hat, secured the masks of his wife and a friend, and then put on his own.

“I’m sure it was only a few minutes but it felt like a lifetime,” Kristin said.

“You‘re just trying to pray and breathe.”

“And about that time we heard screams and Tim just ripped his oxygen mask off.”

Tim rushed to grab Riordan.

“My husband went behind and grabbed her with his right arm and pulled as hard as he could but he just couldn’t get ahold of her,” Kristin said.

A second man, whom the McGintys didn’t know, heard the commotion and also ran to help.

They later learned he was Andrew Needum, a firefighter from Celina.

“They were able to grab her and pull her back in and I yelled ‘does anyone know CPR?’"

Retired registered school nurse Petty Phillips heard the call.

She and Needum performed CPR on Riordan for about 20 minutes until the crew made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

The McGintys later boarded another plane for Dallas.

Riordan was a bank executive from Albuquerque, N.M.

Her family says the mother of two was full of “vibrancy, passion and love.”

The family called her the "bedrock of our family" and asked those mourning her passing to "be kind, caring and sharing" in her honor.

The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce held a moment of silence Tuesday night during a special reception for new University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes.

The National Transportation Safety Board says a preliminary examination of the blown jet engine showed evidence of "metal fatigue."