Celina Firefighter Honored For Life-Saving Efforts On Southwest Flight 1380

Kristin Weisell
June 01, 2018 - 12:13 pm
The engine on a Southwest Airlines plane is inspected as it sits on the runway at the Philadelphia International Airport after it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia

(Amanda Bourman via AP)


DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - A North Texas firefighter received some special thanks for his efforts to save a woman partially sucked out of a Southwest plane. 

Andrew Needum is a firefighter in Celina. He was on board flight 1380 in April, when the engine exploded. He was one of several passengers that attempted to pull Jennifer Riorden back inside the plane.

Despite every effort, Riorden didn't survive, but people have still hailed Needum as a hero for his attempt to save her.

Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe represents the 4th district. That includes Celina, where Needum lives and works. Ratcliffe arranged to honor Needum with his own Lone Star Award, which honors the extraordinary achievements of everyday people.

"Not a day has gone by that we haven't thought of the Riorden family," Needum said as he accepted the award. "But we're grateful for days like today when we can celebrate the actions that took place on that flight."

Along with the award, Needum's family was given an American flag that had been flown over the US Capitol. 

Needum says he hopes his experience may inspire others to do the right thing, especially in an emergency.