Celina Firefighter Honored For Heroic Actions on SW Flight 1380

A North Texas man who sprang into action when the engine exploded on Southwest Flight 1380 is being honored in his hometown.

Andrew Needum is a firefighter from Celina who put his training to use when it was most needed.

When the plane was severely damaged and lost cabin pressure mid-flight, Needum assured his family was safe then immediately began assisting other passengers.

Needum was recognized Tuesday by the Celina City Council for his heroism.

During the ceremony, Celina Mayor Sean Terry said Needum began helping a mother who was unable to fit an oxygen mask on her child.

“Andrew made sure the toddler was able to wear the mask and breath easily,” Mayor Terry said, reading from a Hometown Hero proclamation.

Needum then turned his attention to Jennifer Riordan, a wife and mother of two from New Mexico who was partially sucked out of the plane’s broken window.

Needum has never spoken publicly about the details of what he did but other passengers said he helped pull Riordan back inside and performed CPR until the plane landed.

Riordan did not survive.

“There’s not a day that goes by that they're not on my mind,” Needum said.

Needum's wife Stephanie, their daughter Ellie and son Colten were on the plane, too.

“There's a reason that we're going through all of this,” said Stephanie Needum.

“We're extremely proud of him and Stephanie, too, the way they've handled this whole situation. It’s very difficult when you lose someone,” said Needum’s mother Julie.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, Needum’s parents Julie and Tommy were handed the key to the city of Celina, a place they’ve called home for more than 40 years.

Needum received a medal of heroism and proclamation as a hometown hero, a fitting honor for a man who risked everything to do the right thing.

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