The Butler men’s basketball team experienced an in-flight scare after its charter flight lost cabin pressure Thursday night.
Some staff members were so afraid that they texted family members after thinking they might never see them again, Bulldogs coach Chris Holtmann told ESPN on Friday morning.
Butler was flying from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Indianapolis after Thursday’s 76-73 upset loss to St. John’s, but the team made an unexpected stop in Pittsburgh after its flight experienced trouble.
Holtmann said the cabin lights went out about 25 minutes into the flight,
“It started to get really cold, and the plane went completely dark,” Holtmann told ESPN. “Then all the oxygen masks came flying down, and the flight attendant told everyone to put the masks on. She kept repeating it. We had a really rapid descent. In the span of 10 or 12 minutes, we went from 35,000 feet to 10,000 feet.”
Holtmann described to ESPN that he heard players yelling in panic.
“As a coach, you are obviously thinking of your family,” Holtmann said. “But you are also thinking about all the young men on the plane. I was shook. It was scary, we had guys crying.”
The team landed in Pittsburgh shortly after midnight and stayed at a local hotel.
Holtmann said the team planned to take a charter flight Friday but instead opted to take a bus back to Indianapolis because another plane was not available until late Friday afternoon.
Butler athletic director John Dedman said Butler was taking a bus from Pittsburgh and will arrive back home around 6 p.m. Friday.
“The bus option was selected because it will actually get the team back to Indianapolis in a more timely fashion today,” said Dedman, who also thanked people for “the notes and well wishes.”
The No. 13 Bulldogs (11-2) host Providence (10-4) on Sunday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse.