Nurse recalls effort to save killed Southwest passenger

A retired nurse pulled off her oxygen mask and lept into action aboard a Southwest Airlines flight after a hole in the fuselage pulled a fellow passenger halfway out of the plane.

“If you can possibly imagine going through the window of an airplane at about 600 miles an hour, and hitting either the fuselage or the wing with your body, with your face,” Dallas resident Peggy Phillips told reporters Tuesday night. “Then I think I can probably tell you that there was significant trauma.”

The former registered school nurse was headed home from New York City on Tuesday when her plane’s engine blew up, sending shrapnel into the cabin — 30,000 feet above the ground.

She and a fellow passenger who works as an emergency medical technician — whom she identified as Andrew — spent 20 minutes trying in vain to save Jennifer Riordan, whose upper body was pulled out of the plane.

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Riordan, a Wells Fargo executive who lived in Albuquerque, N.M., died from her injuries despite the life-saving efforts.

“The whole thing was a little surreal,” Phillips, who decided to get back on a plane for Dallas that night, told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Wednesday. “ I can't say that I slept very well last night, I'm sure most passengers did not sleep very well last night.”

Officials said the left engine blew on Flight 1380 roughly 20 minutes after it left LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday en route for Dallas.

She and other passengers described a loud noise, and she heard a commotion near the back of the plane after the oxygen masks dropped.

Phillips recalled seeing a young man walking around without a mask trying to help.

“I did not know the situation at that time,” she said on “GMA.”

Meanwhile, two of her fellow passengers were trying to pull Riordan back into the plane.

That’s when someone called out asking for people who knew how to perform CPR.

“I got up and went back, took off my oxygen mask and began CPR immediately,” she recalled, trying to save Riordan — even after the plane landed.

“I don't consider myself a hero by any stretch but there were heroes on that plane and I was just doing my job,” she told “GMA.” “Andrew was doing his job.”

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly on Tuesday sent his “deepest sympathies to the family and the loved ones of our deceased customer.”

National Transportation Safety Board investigators said the Boeing showed signs of “metal fatigue.”

NTSB Chair Robert Sumwalt told reporters an engine blade appeared to have come off and is missing.

With News Wire Services