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Butler basketball team home safe after plane malfunction

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Butler Men’s Basketball team is back home safe Friday night after a scary flight Thursday.

The team’s plane had to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh on the way back to Indianapolis.

Ear pressure issues were the first signs that something was going wrong.

“And then it wasn’t 30 seconds later before the lights went out, the oxygen masks came down,” Butler Coach, Chris Holtmann said.

Holtmann explained what happened when the oxygen masks deployed.

“The airline stewardess got on the intercom and said grab your oxygen mask, immediately put them on,” he said.

He said everyone was scared because the plane went completely dark and they could feel it descending rapidly.

“All you could really see was our plane descending, you could see the ground getting closer and closer, you could hear the pilots, and you could hear some urgency in our airline personnel’s voice,” he said.

Some of the players had only flown a couple times in their lives.

“Particularly for some of our inexperienced travelers, there’s no doubt that was a traumatic experience for all of us but certainly for our inexperienced travelers,” he said.

The plane eventually landed safely at the Pittsburgh airport and the team spent the night at a hotel.

The team took a bus back to Indianapolis and arrived about 8 p.m. Friday night.

A late arrival, but a safe one, as all the players headed into Hinkle Fieldhouse.

He said it’ll take a bit of confidence to get some of these players back onto an airplane.

But he knows what an unusual experience it was and one they hopefully never repeat.

“We talked through that this morning and we tried to educate them on how safe air travel actually is,” he said, “We’re going to fly again this year so they need to understand how safe it is.”

There’s still no word on what caused the issues with the chartered plane.

The team’s next game is at Butler on New Year’s Day with a tip off at 3.