ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The plane carrying the Michigan basketball team that was involved in an accident less than two weeks ago ran off the end of a runway after executing a rejected takeoff, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary investigation report, which was released Tuesday.
The incident took place just before 3 p.m. March 8 at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., about 30 miles west of Detroit. The Wolverines were on a chartered flight that was headed to Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va. They were scheduled to play in the Big Ten Tournament the next day in Washington.
Of the 109 passengers and seven crew members on the plane — including the basketball team, coaches and staff members — only one injury was reported. Michigan point guard Derrick Walton Jr. had to get stitches in his right leg when he was injured opening an emergency exit in order to evacuate the plane.
The report stated that the plane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-80, sustained substantial damage but that no post-crash fire occurred. Wind gusts in Ypsilanti were reported to be between 35 and 50 knots (about 40 to 57 mph), but the report did not state if weather conditions factored into the accident.
NTSB investigators traveled to Willow Run Airport to investigate the accident. An NTSB spokesman said a full investigation could take at least a year to complete.
Michigan (26-11) won the Big Ten Tournament championship on March 12, four days after the accident, and earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan is the seventh seed in the Midwest Region and faces No. 3 Oregon at 7:09 p.m. ET Thursday in a Sweet 16 game in Kansas City.