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University of Kansas basketball team’s jet makes emergency landing in San Jose after engine fails


"We are grateful to the pilots and the entire flight crew," the Jayhawks said in a statement after landing safely in San Jose.

Emergency landing

(NBC News) – A charter plane carrying the University of Kansas men’s basketball team was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday when one of its engines failed about 20 minutes after takeoff.

The Swift Air 737 passenger jet for the Kansas Jayhawks had taken off from Mineta San Jose International Airport following a game against Stanford University earlier in the day. The plane safely returned to the airport at about 5:30 p.m. local time after reporting an issue with its right engine, the Federal Aviation Administration and the airport said.

The flight was nerve-wracking, those onboard told NBC Bay Area, describing a loud “pop” shortly after takeoff and vibrations that shook the jet. It was then that the pilot announced the aircraft had lost an engine, they said.

“It was tense and it got very quiet. I think people were on edge obviously, but the plane maintained a good altitude and level, and the pilots and the crew acted in a very professional way,” Jeff Long, director of athletics for the University of Kansas, told the station. “So, I think as best we could, we felt safe about the return to San Jose.”

When the flight landed, the approximately 60 people onboard started cheering and clapping, Long added.

On Twitter, senior athletic director at the University of Kansas Ryan White shared a video that appeared to show flames rocketing out of the engine.

Fire crews were sent as a precautionary measure to meet the aircraft at the gate, but no emergency services were needed, the airport said.

The team thanked the flight crew in a statement.

“The pilot immediately contacted the San Jose Airport where we returned and made a safe landing. We are grateful to the pilots and the entire flight crew of Swift Air,” the Jayhawks’ statement said, adding that it was going to spend the night in San Jose before returning to Kansas.

Swift Air is operated by iAero Airways and provides charter service to professional and college sports teams, Fortune 500 companies and presidential candidates, according to iAero’s website.

The University of Kansas defeated Stanford 72-56 in their game.

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