A passenger seated next to Jennifer Riordan on the doomed Southwest Airlines flight 1380 that experienced an engine explosion has recalled the terrifying situation.

Hollie Mackey has described how she grabbed onto Jennifer, who died of blunt impact trauma to the head, neck and torso as she was partially sucked out of the smashed plane window.

Jennifer Riordan was flying home from a business trip to New York when she was sucked out of a shattered window.
Jennifer Riordan was flying home from a business trip to New York when she was sucked out of a shattered window.

"I had leaned over and grabbed on to her belt loops and her waist and wrapped my arm around her waist and tried to pull," Mackey told US station KTVQ.

"And the little girl next to me also tried to pull with me, and we tried to pull her back in, and we couldn't. We were not strong enough.

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"All we could do was stay calm, because if we didn't then there would be even more panic in the plane."

Mackey said about half an hour into the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday she heard a 'boom'.

"So I had clicked my seat belt back on and I was going to get something out of my bag. And then there was a big boom, and we were all very confused for a second.

"Just at the same time, there was a boom and this cold air and this sucking sound. We were all just looking around. We didn't know what was going on," she said.

"In that moment, we really just made some pretty tough decisions. It was really excellent team work between all of them to try to get Jennifer back in safe and keep everybody else safe at the same time."

The window which shattered during the flight. Jennifer Riordan had her seat belt on when drama unfolded.
The window which shattered during the flight. Jennifer Riordan had her seat belt on when drama unfolded.

Riordan, a bank executive and mother-of-two, was killed after the engine blew and hurled shrapnel at a plane window, which she was partially sucked out of.

It has also been revealed she was wearing her seatbelt at the time.

Firefighter Andrew Needum and Tim McGinty, a ranch hand who was travelling with his wife, helped pull the woman back inside the plane.

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McGinty told the TV network FOX 4 what happened.

"The engine went out and we had a lady go out the window, and we couldn't pull her in," he said. "A guy helped, we got her pulled in. They tried to resuscitate her."

Despite their efforts, Riordan was pronounced dead at a Philadelphia hospital after the plane made an emergency landing.

Hollie Mackey was seated next to Jennifer Riordan on the Southwest Airlines flight.
Hollie Mackey was seated next to Jennifer Riordan on the Southwest Airlines flight.

In a statement, Riordan's loved ones called her "the bedrock" of the family.

"Jennifer's vibrancy, passion and love infused our community and reached across our country. Her impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured," the statement read. "But foremost, she is the bedrock of our family. She and Mike wrote a love story unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident through her children.

"We are so appreciative of the outpouring of support from family, friends and our community. "We do ask that those who seek to express their condolences and prayers as well as media outlets respect our privacy at this time. Our family and friends need this time to both grieve and celebrate Jennifer's impact on us all. In her memory — please remember to always be kind, loving, caring, and sharing."