Sunday, March 28, 2021

Boeing 737-400, N438US: Incident occurred March 27, 2021 near Evansville Regional Airport (KEVV), Vanderburgh County, Indiana

iAero Airways
Swift Air LLC

The Michigan women’s basketball team was safe late Saturday night and early Sunday morning after their charter plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Evansville, Indiana, after it lost pressure while flying through a storm.

Michigan was returning to Ann Arbor from San Antonio, after a 78-75 loss in overtime to Baylor in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 on Saturday afternoon. The plane departed Texas at 8:15 p.m. Central time for the roughly two-and-a-half hour flight.

As the plane flew through a storm, it made an aggressive descent, pressure was lost and the compartments containing oxygen masks opened and fell, according to Sarah VanMetre, who handles athletic department communications for Michigan women’s basketball.

There were no injuries, VanMetre said in a text to The Detroit News, "other than being scared."

Michigan basketball assistant Toyelle Wilson posted on Twitter a photograph of coach Kim Barnes Arico, her staff and team in the plane after it had landed in Evansville, and the oxygen masks are clearly visible dangling from compartment above their seats.

“Just went through the worst flying experience,” Wilson wrote on Twitter. “We are flying back to MI & hit a storm-lost pressurization- the oxygen masks dropped from the compartments. Told bc we dropped at a certain feet & had to use them.” She asked for prayers after they landed.

The team was still in Evansville at the airport early Sunday morning, and they had ordered pizzas while working to determine their travel plans to return to campus.

This is not the first time a Michigan basketball team has had flight issues. In 2017, the Michigan's men's basketball team was preparing to fly to Washington, D.C., to play in the Big Ten tournament, when its charter skidded off the runway at Willow Run in Ypsilanti, still going 115 mph. Players, coaches and other members of the traveling party had to exit the plane, which suffered extensive damage, via inflatable chutes. An investigation found a jammed part was the reason for the accident. 

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