Southwest victim's husband says he hasn't 'been angry yet,' plans to thank passengers

The husband of the woman killed when a Southwest Airlines engine blew up shortly after takeoff last week says he hasn’t fully processed the accident.

“I have not been angry yet,” Michael Riordan said in an interview with NBC News’ “Today.” “I’m sure it’s coming.”

But he’s not ready to discuss the situation that led to the death of his wife, Jennifer Riordan, who was nearly sucked out of Flight 1380 when the blown engine ripped a hole in the fuselage.

“I’m keeping my love for her in my heart and I’m staying strong for my children, and I’m soaking in their looks to me,” he said.

The couple spoke just before Jennifer left New York City to venture home to Albuquerque.

Riordan, who first met his wife as a teenager in Vermont, was able to say “I love you” one more time before she got on the ill-fated flight.

RELATED: Southwest plane makes emergency landing in Philly after engine incident

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Southwest plane makes emergency landing in Philly after engine incident
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Southwest plane makes emergency landing in Philly after engine incident

A Southwest Airlines flight heading from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Dallas was forced to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport on Tuesday after experiencing engine issues.

Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez

Marty Martinez, a passenger on Flight 1380, took to social media after the incident to share photos of the severe damage sustained by the aircraft, which included a damaged left engine and one blown-out window. 

Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez

A photo of the plane's damaged engine.

Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez

Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez
Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez
Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez
Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez
Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez
Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez
Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez
Photo: Facebook/Marty Martinez
Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines, on a runway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines, on a runway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines, on a runway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines, on a runway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines, on a runway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A U.S. NTSB investigator is on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane in this image released from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 17, 2018. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. NTSB investigators are on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane in this image released from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 17, 2018. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. NTSB investigators are on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane in this image released from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 17, 2018. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. NTSB investigators are on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane in this image released from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 17, 2018. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. NTSB photo shows parts of the engine cowling from the Southwest Airlines plane which blew its engine in mid air yesterday over the skies of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., in this image released on April 18, 2018. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. NTSB photo shows a part of the engine cowling from the Southwest Airlines plane which blew its engine in mid air yesterday over the skies of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., in this image released on April 18, 2018. NTSB/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
@SouthwestAir These are the hero’s of SWA 1380 NYC to Dallas We lost an engine mid-flight and they guided back to P… https://t.co/0fsymQo9lU
@SouthwestAir I want to thank the crew of SWA 1380 for a great job getting us to the ground safely after losing in… https://t.co/C03wL1SYtJ
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Tammie Jo Shults, who is currently a Southwest Airlines pilot, poses in front of a Navy F/A-18A in this 1992 photo released in Washington, DC, U.S., April 18, 2018. Thomas P. Milne/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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“Our last conversation was that,” he told the network. “She called just to say, ‘I’m going to the airport,’ and we said, ‘love you, safe travels.’”

Within 20 minutes of leaving LaGuardia Airport, however, the plane’s left engine blew — busting a hole in the plane.

Her upper body was pulled out and two passengers struggled to pull her back in.

Fellow travelers spent 20 minutes performing CPR on Jennifer — even after the plane safely touched down in Philadelphia.

Riordan, speaking with several networks this week, recalled being confused when a hospital chaplain called from Philadelphia to say a doctor would soon be in touch.

“Then the doctor called and said, ‘I'm sorry, Michael, but we've done everything we can but we couldn't save her,’ and I just dropped the phone,” he said in an interview with CBS News.

Jennifer was the first U.S. passenger fatality since 2009.

Riordan let her parents know, then pondered how he’d break the news to 12-year-old daughter Averie and 10-year-old son Josh.

“I held their hands. I took a knee,” a choked-up Riordan said in an ABC News interview that aired Wednesday. “I said, mommy's not going to come home, guys.”

A thousand people came to a memorial service for her in Albuquerque, during which New Mexico’s lieutenant governor gave Riordan a flag that flew half-staff over the capital after his wife’s death.

Riordan said he’s gotten the names of everyone who helped his wife.

“At some point, I really need to reach out to them and just (let them) know that as a family we’re just thankful for them being there with her,” he said.

“To lose your wife and partner for 29 years and the mother of your children is an impossible task.”

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