Butler basketball team plane loses pressure, terrifying team, staff

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Butler’s basketball team endured some terrifying moments Thursday night after their plane lost cabin pressure during a flight home from New York and made a rapid descent for an unscheduled landing in Pittsburgh, Bulldogs coach Chris Holtmann said Friday.

The charter plane was flying from LaGuardia Airport to Indianapolis after Thursday’s 76-73 loss to St. John’s when its lights went out about 25 minutes into the flight, Holtmann told ESPN .

He says the plane became “really cold,” oxygen masks dropped down and a flight attendant told the team and staff members to put them on.

Holtmann said the plane rapidly went from 35,000 feet to 10,000 feet. During that descent, panicked players were yelling in the back of the plane and staff members were texting their wives, worried they might not see them again.

“I was shook. It was scary, we had guys crying,” he told ESPN. “As a coach, you are obviously thinking of your family, but you are also thinking about all the young men on the plane.”

The plane landed in Pittsburgh after midnight and the team spent the night at a hotel.

Butler associate athletic director John Dedman said in a statement that the team was returning Friday to Indianapolis by bus because another plane was not immediately available and everyone wanted to return to Indianapolis “in a more timely fashion.”

Dedman said the school appreciates “the notes and well wishes” it received following the team’s frightening landing.

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More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.

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