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Southwest Airlines passenger trolled for streaming stricken flight

PENNSYLVANIA: When one of the engines on a US Southwest Airlines jet exploded on Tuesday, passenger Marty Martinez began live streaming what he feared might be his last minutes of life.

It was possibly the first time someone who thought he was going to die in a plane crash live-streamed the experience.

Mr Martinez lived. One passenger, bank executive Jennifer Riordan, was killed when she was partially pulled through a shattered window of the plane.

But while Martinez, who runs a Dallas marketing agency, said on Wednesday he wanted to communicate with loved ones, many social media users attacked him in expletive-laced postings, with one saying Mr Martinez himself should have been the one who died.

"Trying to contact loved ones is one thing, but to morbidly video and take pictures to post publicly is completely disgusting. Evidently the wrong person was taken from that flight," Dennis Miller said on Facebook, adding colourful language to describe Mr Martinez.

Many social media users also defended Mr Martinez's use of Facebook Live, but some said he violated passengers' privacy and sought cheap fame. Others said he was selfish to focus on messaging instead of on the critically injured passenger a few rows away.

"You represent the worst of social media," Tom Burke said on Facebook.

The event illustrates thorny issues facing platforms such as Google's YouTube, Twitter's Periscope and Facebook, already under pressure over privacy and news curating, over hosting live-streaming material.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on Mr Martinez's posts.

Earlier this month, Facebook vice-president Fidji Simo talked about the power of live streaming.

"Live can be a powerful tool in connecting and supporting communities during moments of crisis," Ms Simo said in a post.

Since 2016, the average number of daily Facebook Live broadcasts has doubled year over year, with 3.5 billion live broadcasts since then.

Mr Martinez explained on Wednesday why he opened his laptop and fumbled for his credit card to pay $8 for Wi-Fi while other passengers were grabbing oxygen masks.

'MY LAST FEW MOMENTS'

"All I could think of in that moment was, I need to communicate with my loved ones," he said on ABC television.

"I thought, 'These are my last few moments on Earth and I want people to know what happened.'" Some social media users questioned his motives.

"I didn't see you say anything to the people you love," said Lakeya Collins on Facebook. "This social media world today is sickening Everyone wants to go viral ugggh." - REUTERS

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