The Michigan men’s basketball team had to be evacuated to safety Wednesday afternoon after the plane scheduled to take it to the Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C., was involved in an accident following an aborted takeoff attempt at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich.
No one was injured in the accident but the plane suffered heavy damage after skidding off the runway.
A statement sent by Michigan athletics communication department:
“The Michigan men’s basketball team plane was involved in an accident Wednesday afternoon. After attempting to take off in high winds, takeoff was aborted and, after strong braking, the plane slide off (the) runway. The plane sustained extensive damage but everyone on board was safely evacuated and is safe. The team is making alternate travel plans.”
WXYZ-TV in Detroit reported the airport was shut down because of the accident. An airport employee confirmed to Land of 10 that the airport had been shutdown, and then the Wayne County Airport Authority issued the following statement:
“Shortly before 3 p.m. today, a charter flight aborted takeoff at Willow Run Airport and went off the end of Runway 23L. The Airport Authority Public Safety and Operations teams responded. There were no injuries to the seven crew members and 109 passengers, including members of the University of Michigan men’s basketball team. The MD83 was operated by Ameristar Charters. As a result of this incident, Willow Run Airport remains closed at this time.”
Michigan, the No. 8 seed, is scheduled to face No. 9 Illinois in the second round of the tournament Thursday at noon (ET) at the Verizon Center.
The team was all set for what it thought would be an uneventful flight to D.C.
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) March 8, 2017
This is the aftermath, from the Twitter account of Michigan radio play-by-play broadcaster Matt Shepard:
Scary attempt to get to DC but everyone is alright pic.twitter.com/gC4nJBxUDw
— Matt Shepard (@ShepMatt) March 8, 2017
Land of 10 writer Rachel Lenzi contributed to this report.