A PASSENGER on the troubled Southwest Airlines flight shared a terrifying video during the emergency descent of panicked people wearing oxygen masks.

After the engine exploded during the flight from New York to Dallas, Marty Martinez decided to livestream the chaos to document what was happening and tell his family he loved them.

But one flight attendant spotted a major problem with what passengers were doing in his video and his tweet pointing out the issue has gone viral.

"Listen to your flight attendants!" wrote Bobby Laurie. "ALMOST EVERYONE in this photo from @SouthwestAir #SWA1380 today is wearing their mask WRONG."

Most of the passengers only have their masks over their mouths, rather than their noses and mouths, and would not have been able to breathe if the pilots had not managed to rapidly get the aircraft down to a level where the cabin was pressurised again.

"Had they not been able to safely and quickly.. there would have been a different outcome," added Mr Laurie. "Flight Attendants are aviations FIRST responders. Listen!"

The disaster occurred at 30,000 feet above ground, and the average passenger plane has a cruising altitude of between 30,000 to 40,000ft, an altitude at which humans cannot breathe properly and don't get enough oxygen. Had the engine blown when the plane was higher, the passengers might not have survived, Mr Laurie warned.

Mr Laurie called on travellers to stop playing with their phones and taking selfies and listen to the safety instructions. His tweet has had almost 15,000 likes and more than 8000 retweets, with others echoing his concern over passengers ignoring the demonstration.

"I've done the safety demo about hundreds of times at work and each time I do it only half of the passengers look up and watch," wrote Nicole Froehling. "Please people pay attention it's very important information."

Blair Keetch, who said he used to take more than 250 flights a year, added: "At the very least, it's polite not to ignore them and it's possible that this could be life-saving info!"?

And Andrea Tullos said the tragedy, in which a woman was killed after she was sucked out of a broken window, was a reminder of "why our flight attendant training is so important." Passengers only have around ten seconds to react, and many people panic in an emergency, so it is vital the response is automatic.

But Katya said she ignored the safety talk "because I've seen it LITERALLY hundreds of times. I could do it myself from memory. Flight attendants who come up to me and ask me to remove my headphones are annoying af. Mind your business."

Others said the masks should be larger or designed with a nose shape to make it intuitive. Another warned passengers to leave behind carry-on bags if they had to go down a slide.

The 143 passengers were told to put on their masks after an engine exploded and pilot Tammie Jo Shults put the plane into a sharp dive to provide breathable air for passengers. The former Navy pilot was praised for her "nerves of steel" after making an emergency landing with just one engine.

But Jennifer Riordan, 43, died after she was sucked out of her seat and through the window despite wearing her seatbelt, suffering a blunt trauma to the head, neck and torso. Seven others were injured.

Mr Martinez told CNN objects began to fly out of the hole in the window and "passengers right next to her were holding on to" Ms Riordan as she hung halfway out of the aircraft.

"And meanwhile, there was blood all over this man's hands. He was tending to her," Mr Martinez said.

Ms Riordan was pulled back through the window by Tim McGinty and Andrew Needum, before retired nurse Peggy Phillips abandoned her mask to administer CPR, but they couldn't save the mother of two.

Ms Phillips said Ms Riordan, from New Mexico, suffered "significant head trauma, facial trauma" after she was dragged out of the window.

"If you can possibly imagine going through the window of an aeroplane at about 600mph (965km/h), and hitting either the fuselage or the wing with your body, with your face ... I can probably tell you that there was significant trauma to the body," said Ms Phillips.

The Boeing 737 suffered engine failure shortly after taking off from New York's La Guardia Airport, and Ms Phillips said the passengers knew something was wrong early on.

"All of us thought this might be it. Shortly after takeoff we heard a loud noise and the plane started shaking like nothing I've ever experienced before," she said. "It sounded like the plane was coming apart. It was terrifying."

Ms Riordan's family paid tribute to the brave pilot and passengers who tried to save the Wells Fargo bank executive.

"Those people ... I'm sorry that they'll probably have images in their head that they'll never forget, but Jennifer would be the first to say your job is to keep living, and live well," said her sister-in-law Marianne.

"Obviously, God needed her. Hopefully, she's somebody's guardian angel now."

Jennifer Riordan, 43, was sucked out of her seat and through the window, hitting her head and torso and dying from her injuries. Picture: NM Broadcasters/Twitter
Jennifer Riordan, 43, was sucked out of her seat and through the window, hitting her head and torso and dying from her injuries. Picture: NM Broadcasters/Twitter

The horrifying accident is not the first of its kind, however, and has left many worrying about how they can make sure they are safe on their next flight. Steve Purvinas from the Australian Licensed Aircraft Association advised sitting near the back of the aircraft.

"After seeing what's happened today, some people may think the place that's not very safe is next to the engine.

"But there's so much protection on the fuselage or on the engine case that in normal circumstances would stop something like this happening. In fact, this is the only case that I can recall where a blade has gone through the cabin and caused injury to a person."

He said the tragedy was "incredibly unusual" and people were at more risk in a car. "Travelling by air is probably one of the safest modes of transport."

But aviation expert Glen Keywood suggested "don't sit in those seats adjacent to the front fan, this isn't the first uncontained failure."

A preliminary examination of the blown jet engine showed evidence of "metal fatigue", according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

In a late night news conference, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said one of the engine's fan blades was separated and missing. The blade was separated at the point where it would come into the hub and there was evidence of metal fatigue, he said.

The engine will be examined further to understand what caused the failure. The investigation is expected to take 12 to 15 months.


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