‘I Wrapped My Arm Around Her.’ Southwest Passenger Describes Helping Victim After Engine Explosion

Just as Hollie Mackey was about to get up from her seat to go to the bathroom during Tuesday morning’s Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas, flight attendants asked passengers to stay seated due to continual turbulence. Mackey put her seatbelt back on, shared a glance of disappointment about the bumpy ride ahead with the woman seated at the window to her left and settled back in. Moments later, the unthinkable happened.

Mackey, 42, was seated in the aisle seat on the same row as Jennifer Riordan, a mother of two and bank executive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was killed when Flight 1380’s left side engine exploded just 20 minutes into their trip. When debris from the explosion blew out the window next to her, it caused Riordan to be partially sucked out of the aircraft through the gaping hole where the window used to be. Mackey and a teen girl sitting between them immediately came to her aid.

“I grabbed onto Jennifer’s belt loop area and wrapped my arm around her waist, and tried to pull her in. The little girl did, too,” Mackey, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, tells PEOPLE.

RELATED: Southwest Passenger Recalls ‘Struggle’ During Deadly Flight: ‘There Was Quite a Bit of Blood’

As the damaged plane traveled hundreds of miles an hour, thousands of feet in the sky, Mackey and the teen held onto Riordan as the cold air and the deafening sound of the aircraft engulfed them.

“It was really loud, you couldn’t hear. We tried yelling for help, we tried, but you couldn’t hear anything,” she says.

As hard as they tried, Mackey and the young girl couldn’t pull Riordan back inside.

“It was more of a helpless feeling than anything else,” Mackey says. “With the altitude and that air pressure at that time, we were not physically able to move her at all… the air pressure was still too much.”

Riordan was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the explosion, and Mackey believes it is what kept the 43-year-old from being pulled out of the plane completely. Mackey says she, too, felt the force of the suction drawing her to the window.

“We were feeling it pulling us a little bit. It wasn’t strong enough to pull us out, I don’t believe,” Mackey says. “But I wasn’t certain it wasn’t strong enough to pull the girl out if I unbuckled her and tried to move her out of the way.”

“The seatbelt is what held her inside,” she says of Riordan.

Throughout the ordeal, Mackey says she kept her thoughts on helping those around her, and not on what could happen if the plane went down.

“It momentarily crossed my mind it could crash,” she says. “Then I thought, ‘Well, I can’t do anything about that, so I might as well focus on what I can do something about and hope for the best.’ ”

As the aircraft continued its descent to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia, two Texas firefighters who were also passengers helped pull an unconscious Riordan from the window. She was then given CPR by retired nurse Peggy Phillips for almost 20 minutes until the plane touched the ground.

The NTSB believes metal fatigue on the 18-year-old Boeing 737—piloted by hero pilot, Tammie Jo Shults—led to one of the engine’s blade breaking mid-flight, sending shrapnel into the plane’s fuselage and breaking the window next to Riordan.

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Riordan’s death was caused by blunt impact trauma to her head, neck and torso. Riordan’s family announced Thursday the founding of a memorial website, The Jennifer Riordan Memorial Trust, where givers can support causes that were important to Riordan and help the family meet financial needs after the traumatic event.

“We appreciate the outpouring of support for our family and the love for Jennifer,” the statement, provided to PEOPLE, states. “Hearing stories of how she impacted everyone in so many meaningful ways has truly touched our hearts. To honor her legacy, an official memorial site has been created to fund causes that were near and dear to her heart.”

Later that night after landing in Philadelphia, Mackey took a plane to Dallas and caught a connecting flight back to her home in Norman, Oklahoma, where she reunited with her family. Once there, she was able to reflect on the day’s traumatic events.

“I think you can breathe a little bit more, I didn’t have to be strong anymore, and it was finally my turn to get to drop everything, cry and think about how scared I was,” she says. “I didn’t have to be strong because I didn’t have anyone to be strong for anymore.”

Mackey’s thoughts — and her heart — remain focused on Riordan’s family.

“Both of us expected to be going home to our families and sleeping in our own beds that night,” she says. “I kept telling my husband, somebody else’s family doesn’t get to have this tonight, and it isn’t fair.”

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IHOP Server Becomes An International Sensation After Helping A Disabled Patron Eat Her Food!

This is sweeter than maple syrup!

Keshia Dotson, an IHOP customer in Illinois, recently shared a touching moment between an IHOP server and a disabled customer, and the sweet snap has gone viral!

Related: Beyoncé Makes A Cancer-Stricken Teen’s Wish Come True

The server in question, Joe Thomas, is helping the disabled customer eat in the photo, while her husband enjoys his own meal.

Dotson shared the photo (above) and wrote:

“Today while visiting your Springfield, IL location on Dirksen I witnessed a very touching moment involving one of your servers. A man and disabled women were dining and your server sat down with them and proceeded to help feed the disabled woman while her companion enjoyed his food. My faith in humanity has been restored a little today.

“UPDATE: Dale and “Ma” and reached out and are so thrilled by all the positive feedback they are also very thankful for the all the recognition that Joe (our wonderful server) as received. — thank you all for your kind words. :)”

Thomas was later interviewed about the incident, and had this to say of his patrons:

“They are just really nice people really. I always see him stop eating to feed her and I was like ‘heck, if I’m not doing anything why don’t I go feed her so he can eat and everyone can be happy?’ My parents always told me to treat people equally and that’s what I try to do all the time.”

What a kind-hearted soul! Wow!

Since the photo went viral, Thomas has been moved by all the positive feedback:

“It really felt good for somebody to actually see another person is doing something and take notice. It felt good, but at the same time I was like I really don’t care for the recognition to much because it’s just something that should automatically be done regardless. I am out there to help anyone if I can, don’t really look for anything in return just have a good day and that’s it.”

Thomas also revealed that since the photo took off he’s gotten a job opportunity as a nurse!

How awesome! We need more people like him in this world!

[Image via Keshia Dotson/Facebook.]


Lindsay Lohan Poses With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Refugee Bana Alabed on Instagram: ‘Helping Syrian Refugees Is Truly Inspiring’

Her latest role: Humanitarian. Lindsay Lohan posed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and 7-year-old Syrian refugee Bana Alabed in a powerful post to Instagram on Friday, January 27.

“What a

This article originally appeared on Lindsay Lohan Poses With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Refugee Bana Alabed on Instagram: ‘Helping Syrian Refugees Is Truly Inspiring’

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Richard Marx Is Modest After Helping to Subdue an ‘Unruly’ Passenger on an Airplane

(LOS ANGELES) — Richard Marx says he wasn’t a hero for apparently intervening after an unruly passenger disrupted a Korean Air flight and had to be restrained.

Marx and his wife, Daisy Fuentes, documented the incident on Facebook and Instagram on Tuesday. The “Right Here Waiting” singer and Fuentes, a former MTV VJ, were married last year.

Fuentes wrote that her husband was the first to help subdue the man, and Marx criticized the flight crew for failing to properly restrain the man.

A Korean Air spokesman confirmed the incident aboard the flight from Hanoi to Seoul and that photos on Marx’s Facebook page were shot during the flight. Cho Hyun Mook said the matter was under investigation and that it appears that crew members responded in accordance with airline policies.

Marx posted a later update saying he and Fuentes were home safe and saying he wasn’t a “big ‘hero’” but “just did what I would hope anyone would do in the same situation.”

Citing Incheon police, the Yonhap News Agency reported that the passenger was a 34-year-old South Korean man who became drunk after having two and a half glasses of hard liquor on the flight. Incheon police officials could not be reached for comment.


T.J. Miller Beats the Crap Out of Donald Trump Supporter, Isn’t Helping

Actor T.J. Miller – perhaps best known for his role on the HBO sitcom Silicon Valley – is currently on a press tour for his new film, Office Christmas Party.

In seems that in addition to being a comic actor on the rise, T.J. is also an outspoken critic of President-elect Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, it seems that after a few drinks he sometimes succumbs to the sort of violent, politically-charged rage that members of the alt-right wake up in every day.

On Thursday night, T.J. attended the GQ Men of the Year party, where we assume he received the top prize for Achievement in Having Something to Promote, and where – no joke – he appears to have pierced his own ear with a safety pin.

Anyway, he was picked up by an Uber driver at the conclusion of what sounds like a seriously boozy evening.

Apparently, the topic of politics came up (Pro tip: It’s always a great idea to talk about politics with strangers, especially late at night when you’ve been drinking), and things got ugly quickly.

Not surprisingly, there are two very different versions of the story, but accounts concur that eventually T.J. smacked the driver, and predictably, his gesture was not well-received.

The car was already stopped at T.J.’s house, and the driver got out and made a citizen’s arrest, which is apparently something that actually happens in real life.

Police say the driver had no visible injuries, and that the situation is “he said/he said,” according to TMZ.

So in all likelihood, T.J. won’t face any charges, but considering neo-Nazis are boycotting Rogue One just for daring to show non-villainous brown people on screen, we’re guessing this story won’t help Christmas Party‘s numbers in the coveted white supremacist demo.

In all seriousness, though, we understand that tensions are running high these days, the country is more divided than ever, etc.

But if you’re tempted to lay your hands on someone because of their political beliefs, 99.9999% of the time, you’re the assh-le.

The only exception we can think of is if they just announced their allegiance to the I’m About to Hit You First Party.

We understand it’s more frustrating than ever to go out in the world and interact with other humans, but there are ways to affect positive change, and resorting to violence just reflects poorly on your side.

So don’t smack any Uber drivers.

But don’t go taking justice into your own hands either.

We know it’s on basic cable around the clock these days, but life ain’t Home Alone, and your ass ain’t Kevin McAllister.

The Hollywood Gossip

David Beckham Spent Friday Night Helping His Daughter Make Doll Dresses — See The Pic HERE!

This is the best!

David Beckham has always been a star on the soccer field — oh, and he’s not bad to look at, either!

But he also happens to be a GREAT dad, as he proved on Friday night!

Photo: David Thinks His Daughter Harper Can’t Get Any Cuter!

Beckham’s wife Victoria shared an adorable snap of her hubby helping out with daughter Harper‘s doll dresses — and we just melted once we saw it!

Ch-ch-check out the super cute snap (below):

Harper has daddy stitching her dollies dresses!!! We love you @davidbeckham ❤️ #lovingdaddy #proudmummy #familyfun ?? x vbA photo posted by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on Mar 25, 2016 at 10:17pm PDT


Hottest man in the world, and this is how he spends Friday night.

When it’s because he’s a great dad taking care of his kids, doesn’t that make him even hotter???

[Image via Charlie Steffens/WENN.]