Southwest hero Andrew Needum attended Tarleton

Sara Vanden Berge
Celina firefighter Andrew Needum is being called a “hero” for trying to save the life of Jennifer Riordan on the ill-fated Southwest Airlines flight. Needum graduated from Tarleton State University in 2006.

A Celina firefighter lauded a “hero” for trying to save a woman on Southwest Airlines flight 1380 attended Tarleton State University.

The 34-year-old graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural services and development in 2006.

Attempts to reach Needum have not been successful, but in an interview with USA Today, Needum said he was traveling aboard the flight with his family when there was a “loud pop.”

After securing oxygen masks for his family, he and real estate agent Tim McGinty rushed to help save Jennifer Riordan, who had been partially sucked through a broken window.

Despite efforts to save her, Riordan died from blunt force trauma to her head and torso, according to a medical examiner.

Needum said he would not give details about the event out of respect for Riordan’s family.

The plane’s engine failed in mid-flight, causing shrapnel to shatter a cabin window.

“I am going to leave that alone,” he told USA Today. “I am trained for emergency situations, and that is exactly what it was.”

Tarleton President Dr. Dominic Dottavio praised Needum’s actions.

“Tarleton alumnus Andrew Needum demonstrated courage and selfless compassion in his attempt to save Jennifer Riordan on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380,” Dottavio said in a statement to the E-T. “We applaud his heroic efforts as they continue to reflect the university’s core values long after his 2006 graduation.”