Bulldogs shaken up after plane scare

ByAndy Katz ESPN logo
Monday, February 16, 2015

Mississippi State's chartered Embraer 145 twin-engine jet had to make an emergency landing in St. Louis after losing power in its right engine, 20 minutes after takeoff from Columbia, Missouri, sports information director Gregg Ellis told ESPN by phone from St. Louis on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs were returning to Starkville after beating Missouri 77-74 earlier Saturday.

"It was an obvious noise, a pop, then there was a little bit of smoke in the back there and the plane immediately started drifting left," coach Rick Ray told ESPN in a phone interview on "SportsCenter".

Ellis said one of the two engines lost power after takeoff. He added that the pilot reassured the passengers they could land safely with one engine.

He said there were no problems after the initial loss of power.

"The pilots did a really good job, smooth landing." Ray said. "They did a really good job of handling the situation."

While he said most of his team was asleep at the time of the incident, Ray acknowledged some on the plane were shaken by the experience.

"We got a couple people that don't enjoy flying in the first place, so that wasn't a good experience for them," Ray said.

The team tweeted as much after it landed.

Ray also took to Twitter and described the events.

"We landed in St. Louis and ended up spending the night in a small town ... Festus, Missouri," Ray said. "And now we're making about a 6-hour trek back to Starkville, Mississippi."

The team left Festus by bus at 8:30 a.m. and arrived in Starkville at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

When told that Oregon State's team also had a problem with Saturday travel (due to a passenger being stung by a scorpion), Ray said his team was in a worse situation.

"I think we had it worse because Oregon State beat us earlier in the year at Oregon State, so they're one-up on us right now," Ray joked.

The Bulldogs (12-13, 5-7 SEC) next play Thursday when they host rival Ole Miss (17-8, 8-4).

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