Wednesday afternoon, the University of Michigan men’s basketball team was loaded and ready to leave for the Big Ten tournament in Washington, D.C., when gusting winds forced the aircraft carrying the team off the runway.
Southeast Michigan was experiencing high sustained winds most of the afternoon on Wednesday, with gusts reaching speeds of 50 mph. According to DTE Energy, nearly 500,000 customers in the area lost power.
The plane reportedly sustained extensive damage, but there were no injuries to passengers or crew. Michigan coach John Beilein followed up with a text message to ESPN, saying, "All OK! A few guys a little banged up and shook up. Blessed we did not get up in the air."
Team manager Tyler Davis posted a video of the aftermath on social media:
According to Wayne County Airport Authority spokesperson Brian Lassaline, the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the incident at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich.
In a statement, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said, "We have worked quickly to arrange alternative travel arrangements for the Michigan travel party. We have been in constant contact with the Big Ten Conference and appreciate their support and willingness to work with us as we sorted through all of the issues. As of right now, we will be able to arrive tomorrow morning in D.C. and play the game at noon as scheduled.”
The Wolverines will board at 7:30 am flight to Washington, D.C., out of Detroit Metro Airport on Thursday morning, arriving at the Verizon Center in time to play their second-round game against Illinois.