Retired nurse tried to save Riordan's life on Southwest flight | KOB 4

Retired nurse tried to save Riordan's life on Southwest flight

Chris Ramirez
April 18, 2018 06:21 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In tragedies like the one aboard Southwest Airlines flight 1380, heroes seem to emerge. One such hero, a retired nurse, desperately tried to help Albuquerque native Jennifer Riordan in her final moments of life.


Retired for less than a year as a school nurse, Peggy Phillips was a few rows in front of Riordan. She braced for the possibility of her own death.

"When the masked dropped down I thought, OK, this might be it. This might be it," Phillips said. "And my next thought was, 'Well, I just updated my will. That's good' and my next thought was 'Well, my family will be fine.'"

But Philips couldn't think about herself for long. She had never met the woman sitting a few rows back, but she knew she was in trouble. The shattered window that shattered, the force of the negative pressure and the flying debris had seriously injured Riordan.

"The flight attendants said, 'Is there anybody here who knows CPR?' Phillips recalled. "I climbed out of my seatbelt and we went and did CPR on this lady."

Phillips performed CPR on Riordan for 20 minutes, even as the plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Phillips kept trying to save Riordan's life.

"When the call came to do CPR, it's my job," she said. "It's what I'm trained to do and I just went and did it."

Watching one person die and brushing up so close to death yourself has a way putting so much into perspective, Phillips said.

"Every moment you have on this earth, you need to cherish it," she said. "You need to value it and you need to cherish the people around you and treat people kindly because it may be your last chance to do that."


Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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