The Utah Jazz Plane Scare Was So Terrifying, Players Were Sending Messages To Loved Ones: ‘It Felt Like The Plane Was Breaking Apart In Mid-Air’

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It’s horrifying that in the year 2021 a flock of birds is potentially capable of imposing its will on 100,000-pound charter planes.

The Utah Jazz found this out the unfortunate way after their flight headed to Memphis was forced to return to Salt Lake City after the plane struck a flock of birds on takeoff.

Jazz guards Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson revealed that players were so jarred that they starting sending messages to loved ones. Conley was sitting next to Clarkson, Joe Ingles, Miye Oni and Derrick Favors when “all of a sudden it felt like an explosion.”

“The plane immediately started to bounce and just started tilting to the left,” he said. “People in the back of the plane said they saw flames. We started looking down and wondering what just happened. Nobody knows. Everybody’s just quiet. We were just in shock.”

“It took the pilots probably five to 10 minutes, probably about 10 minutes, to go through everything, go through their checks and get back to us and let us know what was going on. Because it was obvious that something was really wrong with the plane. It felt like the plane was breaking apart in midair. For five or 10 minutes, it felt like complete helplessness.” [via CNN]

Conley and Clarkson then revealed that the team was so shook, that many guys began sending messages to loved ones.

“For a good 10 or 15 minutes, I think all of us on that flight were questioning if we were going to be here today. That’s how serious it was for us. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that guys were trying to text family just in case, you know? It was that kind of situation.”

Clarkson added: “It was one of those flights where you were sending out texts. I know you’ve seen on a movie when a plane is about to crash. It got to that point where we were all on the plane like, ‘This might be really the end.’ I mean, it was a crazy situation.”

The Jazz somehow managed to secure a 111-107 win over the Grizzlies after catching a different flight later that day, but did so without star Donovan Mitchell, who has a fear of flying and did not make the trip to Memphis on the second flight. The team cited “personal reasons.”

[h/t CNN]

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Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.