Other passengers grabbed her body as she was being sucked out and as Flight 1380 began dropping toward the ground.
After the explosion, oxygen masks were released and the displaced engine reportedly broke through a window. It will require inspections of some CFM56-7B engines, the type on the Southwest flight, and FAA officials acknowledged the total number of engines could be higher than the 220 initially estimated.
Passengers are calling Captain Tammie Jo Shults a hero for safely landing the plane.
"We've confirmed flight 577 departing Nashville (BNA) experienced a bird strike shortly after takeoff", the airline said in a statement to CBS News. Our hearts are heavy.
They say they appreciate the outpouring of support they've received from the public and their co-workers as they "reflect on one family's profound loss".
Shults' swift response won't likely surprise those who served with her when she joined the Navy in 1985, two years after earning her bachelor's degree in biology and agribusiness from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. According to WebMD, that can lead to confusion, shortness of breath, fainting, or - worst-case-scenario - death.
CFM International, which made the engine that apparently failed, issued a service bulletin in June 2017, recommending that operators who had planes with 15,000 or more cycles on their engines since their last inspection should perform ultrasonic tests on the fan blades.More news: Erdogan calls snap elections on June 24
Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said investigators are aware of reports from passengers that Riordan was almost sucked out of the plane, but that "we have not corroborated that ourselves". No passengers or crew were injured in any of those incidents. "And is your airplane physically on fire?" "But part of it is missing". He did say that there were no other holes in the cabin.
The controller responded: "Um, I'm sorry".
I'm sorry. You said there was a hole and somebody went out?
"Southwest 1380, we're single engine", the pilot radioed to air traffic control.
They were able to land the plane going at a speed of 165 knots, which is about 190 miles per hour.
Another passenger, Marty Martinez, heard, "Brace for landing".
He said he paid $8 to connect to WiFi as the plane was going down in order to say his goodbyes.More news: Redskins hosted underrated OG for visit ahead of 2018 National Football League draft
"It was just all incredibly traumatic, and finally when we ... came to a halt, of course, the entire crowd was (in) tears and people crying and we were just thankful to be alive", Martinez said. "I don't know of anybody that's any better person than Andrew Needum", he said. "She was very good". "You did a very good job", passenger Amy Serafini said.
Passengers praised Shults for her professionalism during emergency.
Passengers told CNN affiliate WPVI that the pilot walked through the aisle and talked with them to make sure they were all right. "That lady, I applaud her". And they are still tracking down debris from the engine.
He also tweeted a photo of the crew. "We lost an engine mid-flight and they guided us back to Philly".
NTSB investigators said passenger Jennifer Riordan was wearing her seatbelt when she was out a plane window that was shattered by debris.
Seven people on the aircraft suffered minor injuries as air rushed out of the cabin - leaving people needing oxygen masks.
Alfred Tumlinson was traveling with his wife back to Corpus Christi, Texas, after attending a Texas Farm Bureau gala in New York City.More news: Alien diamonds hit Earth in meteorite
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