The deceased, Jennifer Riordan, was the only victim when Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 blew an engine at 32,000ft during its journey from New York to Dallas, Sky News reported.
Mrs. Riordan was hit by shrapnel.
Image: Jennifer Riordan (right)
Mother-of-two Jennifer Riordan was a vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo bank and had been on a business trip.
Parts of the engine smashed the window next to Mrs Riordan and she was blown away even though some medical experts on the plane tried to drag her back inside.
Passenger Alfred Tumlinson said a man in a cowboy hat had rushed forward a few rows “to grab that lady to pull her back in”.
He added that the passenger “couldn’t do it by himself, so another gentleman came over and helped to get her back in the plane, and they got her”.
Another passenger had said that, from her waist up, Mrs Riordan was out of the plane.
The passengers were praised for their efforts to save Mrs Riordan, giving her CPR after they managed to pull her back in and plug the hole in the window.
Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said the passengers had done “some pretty amazing things under some pretty difficult circumstances”.
Mrs Riordan was said to have sustained serious injuries on impact while seven others suffered minor injuries. However, she died later.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Southwest Airlines said there were 143 passengers on board, along with five crew members.
“We are in the process of gathering more information. Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our customers and crews at this time,” it said.
The plane involved was inspected on Sunday, the airline’s boss Gary Kelly told media, adding that the incident was the first in Southwest’s 51-year history.
She is the first passenger to die in an accident involving a US airline since 2009.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the engine showed evidence of “metal fatigue” and one of its fan blades was separated and missing.
NTSB investigators on scene examining damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane. pic.twitter.com/2dyDzOW8pT
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) April 18, 2018
The airline is speeding up inspections of similar engines.