Memorial service for woman killed on Southwest flight

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez speaking at a memorial service for the Albuquerque woman who died after an  in-flight accident on a Southwest Airlines plane described Jennifer Riordan as a "pillar of the community."

Nearly a thousand people gathered Sunday for the service at her alma mater, the University of New Mexico.

Sanchez read a statement from Gov. Susana Martinez expressing their condolences. He presented Riordan's husband with a flag that was flown at half-staff at the state Capitol in her memory.

"We appreciate the outpouring of support from the community. It truly touches our hearts," the Riordan family wrote in a statement. "We know there are many in the community who want to celebrate Jennifer."

The 43-year-old bank executive was on a plane when one of the engines reportedly exploded, sending shrapnel through a window. Passengers say Riordan was partially blown out of a window.

Early in the flight as the plane was at 32,000 feet (9,754 meters), one of its twin engines suddenly exploded. The impact showered the jet with debris and shattered the window next to Riordan.

Authorities said Riordan was fatally injured when she was sucked partway through the window, sending passengers scrambling to help her as the aircraft shook violently and went into a rapid descent. The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Riordan was the only one of the 149 people on board who suffered severe injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board believes one of the engine fan blades snapped.

Riordan was well known in the Albuquerque area for an established career in community engagement and volunteerism. She served as vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo's New Mexico operations. She oversaw the company's corporate giving program in New Mexico and volunteered her time with a number of area nonprofit groups and boards.

She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a communications degree in 1999 and previously worked as the media relations manager at UNM Hospital.

Riordan and her husband, Michael Riordan, a former chief operating officer for the city of Albuquerque, were married for more than 20 years.

**Continued coverage, here**