Photos from damaged Southwest flight show passengers not heeding safety directives

Posted at 9:39 AM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 11:39:22-04

This week’s deadly accident on a Southwest Airlines flight has prompted a new conversation about the importance in-flight safety instructions.

The blast from a mid-air engine explosion on Southwest Flight 1380 sent shrapnel tearing through one of the plane’s windows, causing the cabin to lose pressure.

After the engine failure, pictures show a number of passengers incorrectly using their oxygen masks, which are deployed after a rapid drop in cabin pressure, reports CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave. The masks are meant to be worn over both your mouth and nose.

"We give explicit instructions about what to do when that mask drops," Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said.

She says many passengers ignore important pre-flight safety instructions.

"We’re not there just to serve you a Coke. We’re actually there and are required to be on the plane because we have certain safety functions that we have to perform to keep the passengers in our care safe," Nelson said.

She also said that about two-thirds of safety briefings are given on video and some of those videos are produced by marketing teams rather than safety professionals, leading some travelers to think it’s the start of an in-flight movie. 

RELATED: Montana native tried to save passenger sucked out of Southwest flight

Moments after the 737’s engine exploded, Southwest passengers rushed to help the injured and dying.

"I’m very proud of him…This is a calling that he has and he did amazing," said Stephanie Needum, who was on board Flight 1380. Her husband Andrew, a firefighter from Texas, knew something was wrong and it was happening seven rows behind him. 

"I looked at her eyes and she basically gave me the approval to go back there….I felt moved to act, as well as other people on that plane….Tim McGinty, he was my big guy. Had my back," Andrew Needum said.  

Fellow Texan Tim McGinty was also on the Southwest flight, along with his wife, Kristen. He and Andrew pulled 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan, who was nearly sucked out of the shattered cabin window, back inside the plane. The mother of two did not survive.   

"Force of the wind, it was just impossible for him alone to pull her back in….There was nothing we could do to help or nothing he could do to save her and we just feel for them, ’cause I know they’re grieving," Kristen McGinty said.

Southwest has confirmed it is giving passengers on the flight $5,000.