Originally published December 29, 2019 at 09:25p.m., updated December 30, 2019 at 11:45a.m.

KU men’s basketball team’s charter flight loses an engine, returns safely to airport


Stanford, Calif. — The KU men’s basketball team’s charter plane lost an engine shortly after taking off Sunday evening, forcing the flight to return to the airport in California, KU officials said.

“Upon our return flight home from San Jose (International Airport), roughly 20 minutes into the flight, one of the engines failed,” KU said 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 statement said the team would stay the night in San Jose and return as soon as other travel arrangements could be made.

KU coach Bill Self, who was on the plane along with players, coaches, managers and other team personnel and KU administrators, told the Journal-World the team was “fine” in a text message after the incident. The Jayhawks were back on the ground safely as of 5:30 p.m. local time.

11:45 a.m. Update, Dec. 30:

Kansas spokesperson Dan Beckler told the Journal-World on Monday morning that plans had been finalized for KU's return to Lawrence.

The Jayhawks are scheduled to leave Oakland International Airport at 2:30 p.m. today (12:30 p.m. Pacific time) and will fly to Topeka's Forbes Field as usual.

The estimated arrival time in Topeka is around 5:30 p.m., putting the Jayhawks back in Lawrence around 6:30, provided everything goes as scheduled.

Beckler said the team was returning home on another charter flight provided by Swift Air.


Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm glad they're safe. That was a close call. Never heard of Swift Air before. But on 12/22 - one of United Air flights made a rough landing at Denver airport. They literally lost one engine - fell off the plane!

Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 1 month ago

I thought that the teams are allowed to travel to their hometowns from a road game at the end of the year. Or, was that following the Villanova game? Either way, we all are proud of the win and obviously that there was no disaster following the scare.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 1 month ago

That had to have been scary stuff! Glad everyone is okay!

Barry Weiss 1 year, 1 month ago

Many years ago, half way from Denver to KC, the lights went out on one half of the plane. The pilot came on and announced we had lost, either an engine or a generator. He further stated that they would be serving complimentary drinks (open bar!) as we had to return back to Denver. Unfortunately he did not tell us that the plane had TWO, so that the loss of one was not too bad. Bottom line, we drank up!

Robert Brock 1 year, 1 month ago

I hope the Jayhawks make it back to Lawrence in time for the West Virginia game.

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