Husband Of Woman Killed On Southwest Flight: 'I Immediately Thought Of The Kids'

When Michael Riordan received a call from a chaplain at the Philadelphia hospital about his wife, Jennifer Riordan, he thought they had the wrong number. When asked if he was married to Jennifer Riordan, Michael replied, "Well, my wife was flying to Chicago today, so you should be looking for someone else," she told CBS News in an interview. The doctor called Michael a few minutes later to tell him the tragic news: his wife had died on his flight.

Jennifer Riordan, a Wells Fargo executive, was the only victim of the Southwest flight in which an engine had been blown, sending debris flying through the plane's windows. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Riordan's death was the first to occur during an accident of a US airline since 2009. Riordan died when his window was shattered by shrapnel from the engine and was partially sucked out, despite wear the seatbelt Several passengers managed to get her back to the plane, but it was too late to save her. On April 18, a Philadelphia coroner said Riordan had died of "blunt force trauma to the head, neck and torso in a way that was determined to be an accident," according to CBS News.

Before the doctor at the Philadelphia Hospital called Michael Riordan to tell him that Jennifer had died, Michael quickly conducted an Internet search to find out what had happened. The news of the Southwest flight had already been shared. "I saw a passenger take him to the hospital, like, OK, but the whole plane did not crash," Michael told ABC in an interview, "I was like," You can not hurt yourself so bad that he's only in a hospital, but I can go out and I can take his hand and love him. " Once the doctor called Michael and confirmed the worst, he told CBS: "I immediately switched to the second and third phone calls I had to make the worst of my life, to his father and mother."

Michael and Jennifer had two children together, and Michael struggled with the way he was going to tell them that his mother had died. "I immediately thought of the children and how you tell your children that their mother was gone," she told ABC. Michael drove to the school where his children were attending and took them to a chapel. He said: "I just held her little hands and I got down on my knees and said, 'Mom is not going home guys'." Michael told CBS that she wants her children and Jennifer's to remember her as "kind, loving, understanding and sharing". . "He added:" When I see those four small eyes that look at me thinking how we're going to get ahead, that will make me a better father, a better husband and a better person. "

Michael Riordan met Jennifer in a shopping center when she was alone They were 17 and 15. respectively, when CBS asked what he would say to Jennifer now, Michael replied, "I love you." I have no idea how I can do this without her, but thanks to her, I know I can. of love that will never end and will not, no one can take it out of my heart and nobody can take it out of our family. " In a separate interview with Today on NBC, Michael said: "I still have not got angry, I'm sure it's coming, I keep my love for her in my heart and I stay strong for my children." He added that he consoles himself in the last conversation that Jennifer and he had. "She called just to say, 'I'm going to the airport,'" said Michael, "and we said:" I love you, travel safely. "

Other passengers on the Southwest flight recalled the experience of trying to save the life of Jennifer Hollie Mackey, another passenger sitting in the same row as Jennifer, tried to take her back to the plane after the window went out. Once Jennifer returned to the plane, a retired nurse named Peggy Phillips attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation for nearly 20 minutes until the plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. After meeting with her family, Mackey told People that she told her husband's emotional experience, saying: "We both expected to go home with our families and sleep in our beds that night." He continued, saying: "I kept telling my husband, someone else's family can not have this tonight, and it's not fair." Michael Riordan told ABC News that he wanted to get in touch with the people who tried to save Jennifer, saying: "I got the names of the people who were sitting next to him, and at some point, I really need to get to them. We are grateful that they are there with her. "

On April 22, a memorial service was held at the University of New Mexico, where Jennifer had attended. Almost 1,000 people attended the service. Michael Riordan addressed the crowd, saying "Why is everyone so quiet? This is a celebration." He went on to say, "Jennifer came 10 minutes late to our wedding, so I'm giving it back a little bit." Michael, accompanied by his children and Jennifer's on the stage, asked the audience to stand up if he ever had a positive experience with Jennifer, such as receiving a note of support or working to improve the city. Almost all the attendees stood up. The Riordan family issued a statement saying, "We appreciate the large amount of community support, it really touches our hearts, we know there are many in the community who want to celebrate Jennifer."

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