PHILADELPHIA (WTXF/AP) - One person was killed and seven others were injured Tuesday after a Southwest Airlines plane engine apparently exploded midair, officials said.
In air traffic audio the pilot, FOX News identified as Tammie Jo Shults, asked an air traffic control operator via radio for emergency services to be on the scene for the injured passengers when the aircraft landed. When the pilot was asked if the plane was on fire they replied, "No, it's not on fire but part of it's missing. They said there is a hole and someone went out."
According to reports, the pilot was one of the first female fighter pilots for the U.S. Navy and is being hailed a hero.
A bank executive and mother of two from New Mexico has been identified as the woman who died. News of Jennifer Riordan's death was first shared by the assistant principal of the Albuquerque Catholic school attended by her two children.
In an email to parents, assistant principal Amy McCarty wrote that "the family needs all the prayers we can offer."
Riordan was a vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo bank. She was the wife of Michael Riordan, who served until recently as the chief operating officer for the city of Albuquerque.
The New Mexico Broadcasters Association on social media said Riordan was a graduate of the University of New Mexico and former board member.
The plane, a twin-engine Boeing 737 bound from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia just before noon as passengers breathing through oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling said their prayers and braced for impact.
Seven other people aboard the Boeing 737 that was headed from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Dallas' Love Field were treated for minor injuries, according to Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. He said there was a fuel leak in one of the engines when firefighters arrived and a small fire was quickly brought under control.
Matt Tranchin described via FaceTime the terrifying moments on board the Southwest Airlines jet that made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. He felt the plane drop and the air masks came down. He says ash started flowing through the ventilation system. The 34-year-old says his life starting to flash before him. The soon-to-be father spent the next 15 minutes texting loved ones and saying goodbye.
Tranchin says the flight attendants immediately began attending to the critically injured woman and tried unsuccessfully to cover the hole as the plane made an emergency landing.