ANN ARBOR, Mich. — As the Michigan basketball team opened play in the Big Ten Tournament, the National Transportation Safety Board continued its investigation into the plane accident on Wednesday that delayed Michigan’s travel to Washington, D.C.
Eric Weiss, an NTSB spokesman, confirmed to Land of 10 on Thursday that an investigation is underway into the accident, which occurred just before 3 p.m. Wednesday at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., about 30 miles west of Detroit.
According to a statement from Michigan and a statement from the Wayne County Airport Authority, Michigan’s charter flight aborted takeoff and skidded off the runway at Willow Run.
No injuries were reported to the seven crew members and 109 passengers who were evacuated from the charter flight on the MD-83, but Michigan coach John Beilein said Wednesday that “we had a few bumps and bruises, some scratches, maybe a few stitches are needed, but everybody is fine.”
Erica Donerson, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Airport Authority, said Willow Run reopened at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
NTSB investigators, Weiss said, are on site at Willow Run to document the accident as part of an on-scene investigation process, and a preliminary report will be issued within seven to 10 days of the accident. The flight recorders from the charter flights were sent Thursday to Washington, D.C., for lab analysis.
Recorders from the March 8 Ypsilanti, MI, runway excursion at NTSB lab in Washington. pic.twitter.com/ogvt1snm76
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) March 9, 2017
Weiss said there is no timeline for the investigation, but that it will include evaluation of the aircraft’s maintenance records, toxicology reports and a background check of the pilot in the 72 hours prior to Wednesday’s flight.
A full report into the accident, which details what happened, why it happened and what could be done to prevent similar incidents, could take up to a year to complete.
Michigan defeated Illinois 75-55 in a Big Ten Tournament second-round game Thursday in Washington D.C. The Wolverines wore their practice uniforms against the Illini. Michigan’s game uniforms and equipment could not be retrieved from the plane Wednesday night, but Weiss said cargo and materials were taken off the plane by Thursday afternoon and had to be weighed as part of the NTSB investigation.