UPDATE: UMass coaches, players react to emergency landing

Reported by: Torie Wells

Videographer: M. Wickham
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Updated: 1/25/2011 11:15 pm


The UMass men's basketball team landed in Albany around 4 p.m. Tuesday. The team says a new plane from Providence picked them up around 10 p.m.

An airport official says their charter plane, heading from Massachusetts to their game, had to make an unexpected stop after there was a smell of smoke in the cockpit. No one was hurt, and the team is taking it in stride.

"About 10 minutes in they said there was some smoke, some smell," said Tim Kenney, the UMass Executive Associate Athletic Director.

But even the best games, toughest training and hardest drills couldn't prepare the team for the ordeal.

"I just felt the plane moving up and down. I saw the flight attendants running up and down the hallways," said Gary Correia, a senior, point guard on the team. "Just started praying."

"You could almost smell the fumes," said Derek Kellogg, the head coach. "To see some of the facial expressions of the players and coaches was priceless."

The team was headed to their game against St. Bonaventure. 

"You get a little nervous but there's nothing you can do. You hope for the best," said Kenney.

Maybe it was the prayers, or just an experienced crew, either way the team says the landing was flawless and no one was hurt. The new focus was to get to their Wednesday night game on time.

"This is the UMass men's basketball version of planes, trains and automobiles without the trains," said Kellogg.

The new travel plan includes a new flight to just outside Bradford, Pennsylvania, a short bus trip away from their final destination.

"It's going to be one of those trips you write about in the books," said Kenney.

It's a trip that's teaching a lesson in bonding no one could have planned for.

"Any time a situation occurs where you don't know what the outcome will be I think you realize you're with people who are family members," said Kellogg.

"Whenever you can go through something with your teammates and also have a chance to spend extra time with them there's a positive light to it," said Correia.

Not only did Kellogg post an update on YouTube, but the coach kept fans and the media updated on Twitter.


A large plane has made an emergency landing at Albany International Airport after reports of smoke inside the cockpit.

It's a World Atlantic flight carrying the UMass Men's Basketball Team. The team will now drive to the Syracuse airport to catch a plane for their game against St. Bonaventure University Wednesday night.

Fire trucks surrounded the plane as soon as it landed and passengers were evacuated and put onto buses.

FOX23 News has a crew at the airport, and we will bring you any updates as we get them.

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