U-M basketball team plane slides off runway at Willow Run

WEB UPDATE: The University of Michigan men's basketball team is leaving at 7 a.m. Thursday, the team tweeted. The game against Illinois is still scheduled for 12 noon 

The University of Michigan men's basketball team was involved in an accident Wednesday when their charter plane went off the runway.

The plane was taking off Wednesday afternoon when the high winds caused the plane to slide off the runway.

According to UM Sports Information Director Tom Wywrot, the team was trying to take off through the strong winds blowing through the area when takeoff was aborted. The pilot braked but the plane still slid off the runway.

The plane was badly damaged but nobody on board was injured.

Here's the full release:

"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 runway. The plane sustained extensive damage but everyone on board was safely evacuated and is safe. The team is making alternate travel plans."

An airport statement was released: 

"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."

A statement was released late Wednesday by U-M Athletic Director Warde Manual.

"President Schlissel and I are glad to know that the students, coaches and staff are all safe and that nobody was seriously injured," said Warde Manuel, Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. "The safety and health of our students and staff is of the utmost importance."

"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.

"We appreciate all the support and well wishes from our Michigan family as well as those who have reached out with their thoughts and support. Go Blue!"
 

 

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