UNC experiences scare on flight to Miami
The University of North Carolina men's basketball team landed safely in Miami on Tuesday night, but not without a tremendous scare.
The flight was so frightening that many of the Tar Heels players posted thoughts on Twitter about fearing death and praising God for the eventual safe landing.
At 10:07 p.m., sophomore guard Dexter Strickland posted: "WOW!! I really just had flashes of death on this plane! This plane ride just scared me for life!! God is too Good!!"
The UNC team left Raleigh-Durham International Airport on a chartered flight about 8 p.m. for Miami, where the Tar Heels will play the Hurricanes on Wednesday night in an Atlantic Coast Conference game. But, according to Matt Bowers, assistant director of media relations, storms in the area forced the plane to be rerouted over the ocean much more than usual when approaching Miami.
"We descended through a thunderstorm to land," Bowers wrote in an e-mail late Tuesday night. "It was a very bumpy ride for a bit, but thankfully the worst of it only lasted a few minutes. It was scary, but we're fine."
According to Andy Tingler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, "Tornado watches were in order at the time, but no tornadoes were reported, although one funnel cloud was.
"A line of severe thunderstorms and heavy clouds were in the vicinity as the plane would have made its trek toward the airport. At that time, winds up to 66 mph were reported on the ground in the airport's vicinity. The plane likely graced the threshold of the storm line causing it to twist."
Here are more tweets from UNC players:
Strickland: "I can't believe there was really a moment on this plane ride when I thought it was over."
Strickland again: "I still have my barf bag in my pocket."
Sophomore wing Leslie McDonald: "Just experienced the scariest plane ride ever… really didn't think we was going to make it! #ThankGod."
McDonald again: "I'm going to ask a question.. is it normal for a plane to legit keep you out of your seat for 3 seconds and nearly do a three sixty?"
Junior forward Justin Watts: "Thank him!!!... That flight was the worst ever. Thought we were going down for a sec."
Junior guard Larry Drew II: "Thank the LORD we jus landed in Miami."
Drew again: "Those are the type of flights that make you wanna do good, change ya life around. Lol"
Freshman guard Kendall Marshall: "Thank God for landing this plane safely."
Bowers wrote that some of the players' reports were exaggerated a bit, but not by much. "We were all over the place, but thankfully the pilots must’ve been good because it was quick.”
Tingler said that with the kind of weather conditions that were reported, "a regular thunderstorm can produce a high level of turbulence, and with the winds cause more adversity. It was very unstable all evening across the area."
The plane landed at 10:05 p.m., according to flightaware.com.