'It was terrifying,' recalls passenger on deadly Southwest flight: Part 2

A broken engine piece shattered the window at seat 14A, sending Jennifer Riordan halfway out of the plane, as fellow passengers rushed to pull her back.
6:56 | 05/12/18

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Transcript for 'It was terrifying,' recalls passenger on deadly Southwest flight: Part 2
1380, New York to Dallas, was not unlike any of the other 25,000 or so passenger flights that took off and landed across the country without incident that Tuesday. At least for the first 20 minutes. Everything was very routine. I kinda chatted with the people next to me a little bit and, you know, we were just doing the usual, you know? "Oh, yes. Hi, how are you? It's a great day to fly. Da, da, da." Reporter: Bustling crew, and carefree passengers never suspecting where their journey was about to take them. I think maybe five, ten minutes after the flight took off, took out my laptop, and began just doing work. Reporter: In row 14, at the window, is Jennifer Riordan. In the middle seat, a young teenage girl. On the aisle, Hollie Mackey. Jennifer was reading her paperback and the girl was on her phone hunched over. And I was reading on my iPad. I kind of had dozed off and then he was playing sodoku. I put my headphones in and started watching' the movie. I was laughing at the movie. It was a comedy. Reporter: Suduko, a paperback, a comedy, and all the while, bearing down on them at 500 miles an hour -- tragedy. For 20 minutes we had a totally Normal flight. Totally Normal. Reporter: At 11:03 am, with first officer Darren Ellisor flying, and captain tammie Jo Shults monitoring, the plane and its passengers and crew left Normal. We were passin' through about 32,000 feet when we had a large bang and a rapid decompression. There was a loud explosion on the left side of the plane. And it shook the plane badly. So, badly that this flight attendant that was walking toward me that I could see, grabbed hold of the seat, kind of stumbled and almost fell. We immediately began dropping. The oxygen masks fell. And it was terrifying. Reporter: The number one engine, on the left side of the plane had broken into pieces, hurling shrapnel through the air. And almost immediately I felt the rush of wind. It almost felt like -- kind of, like, a car crash in a way. But much worse. What's the first thing you did? Started tightenin' seatbelts. You know? You grabbed her hand right away, I bet? He did. That was the first immediate thought. Like, "The plane is gonna crash." But I just prayed and -- and I felt a peace come over me, which was something' I didn't expect to have, but was very comforting. Reporter: Then came the screams. Two, maybe three screams. Just -- screams. Bad screams. Reporter: The screams were coming from back in row 14, where a terrible scene was unfolding. That broken engine had hurled a chunk of metal, shattering the window at seat 14a, where Jennifer Riordan had been sitting, reading her paperback. That caused a violent whirlwind of depressurization that snatched her halfway out of the plane. When you first looked over and saw Jennifer, what did you see? From about her -- her ribcage -- the bottom part of her ribcage-up, was -- was out the window. Reporter: Only the seatbelt kept Jennifer's body from flying all the way out of the plane. Hollie dropped her life-saving air mask and tried to help. I had leaned over to try to pull Jennifer in. And the plane had rolled and that -- that was my four seconds of terror where I thought -- Was it rolling towards the open window? Yeah, we were -- we were going towards the open window. And -- and I -- I -- thought, "Well, we're gonna go down." Reporter: Hollie and the girl in the middle seat began a desperate tug-of-war, trying to pull Jennifer back inside the plane. They couldn't budge her. And Hollie began to fear she or the girl would be the next to go. I did think that we were probably next to get pulled out of the plane. And the girl was so small, so I wrapped around the girl, and I pulled her over to me so she was farther from the window. And I put my hand on Jennifer's back so then if she was conscious or could feel anything she would at least know that we were there. Reporter: From row 13, Tim McGinty rushed back to help. I went to the window and tried to -- Reporter: But he too was helpless, no match for the enormous pressure. The memory is overwhelming. Just tried to pull her in. And -- it was just -- I, you know, couldn't. Just couldn't. Reporter: Up in row seven, Andrew needum, the firefighter paramedic, checked on his family and then went into first responder mode. I can remember lookin' to Stephanie and we made eye contact. And basically, that eye contact gave me the approval to do my thing and start lookin' around and seen' what needed to be done. It's just an instinctive reaction for me, I guess. Reporter: Andrew joined Tim McGinty's desperate struggle at seat 14c. The terrifying tornado trying to suck everything out of the plane stopped as cabin pressure equalized and together, the men were able to pull Jennifer back inside, where they laid her across the seats. A flight attendant called for help. "Does anybody know cpr?" And I was like, "I do." Mask. Seatbelt. Gone. Yeah. Reporter: Peggy Phillips, a nurse, came back from row 11, on the double. I didn't know yet that she'd actually been sucked out of the plane. I wasn't aware of that yet. What I did know is that I've got to start helping Andrew do cpr. So I just shut everything else out. Shut it all out and started giving compressions and trying to open an airway. And we just started working', just simultaneously. She knew what she was doin'. I knew what I was doin'. And we just did everything that we could to try to revive Mrs. Riordan. Reporter: Still ahead --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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