The Utah Jazz basketball team was involved in a scary situation on March 30, 2021, after their charter plane had to make an emergency landing. This happened because birds got stuck in the plane’s engine and prevented it from flying properly. While all members of the team were safe following the emergency landing, they admitted to being very scared during the process and fearing the worst.
“For a good 10-15 minutes, I think all of us on that flight were questioning whether we were going to be here today,” said Jazz guard Mike Conley, “That’s how serious it was for us. I can’t speak for everybody. But I know guys were trying to text family just in case. It was that kind of situation.”
The Events Unfolding
The plane was initially headed to Memphis but had to make an emergency landing at the Salt Lake City Airport. After this, the team eventually took another flight and arrived at Memphis that seemed 9. This incident, however, was a very sobering one for the team and several of them have spoken out about the experience.
“I don’t know that an experience like that is just suddenly passed on and away,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “Everybody is impacted in different ways, all very significant. It wasn’t something we were going to solve by just talking through everything. But I think it was important to acknowledge what we all went through.”
Even though no one was physically injured as a result of the incident, it was reported that some players were emotionally affected by it. All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell was permitted to miss a game in Salt Lake City and this was stated as due to personal reasons. It has not been confirmed whether Mitchell will miss future games but coach Schneider has stated that he will respect players’ privacy.
After all, the last year has been very turbulent in terms of health and safety. Between the covid-19 pandemic and the tragic passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a January 2020 helicopter crash, more people than ever before I was concerned about safety and mortality.
Mitchell’s teammates have also expressed support for his desire to miss the game for the sake of his health.
“I understand fully why Don didn’t come. All of us were out of there in limbo,” Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson said. “It’s definitely something that you got to push through and get over it. That’s just a tough situation. I don’t think that’s happened many times on a plane ride. I talked to many of my friends that are in the league and they said that’s the biggest fear.”
According to Clarkson, he had grabbed something out of his bag before takeoff and returned to his season only to hear a loud bang. It was Conley who said that it was the birds that have previously passed the windows that caused the explosion. The plane then began to bounce and those at the back apparently saw flames. Thankfully, the situation was contained.