ST. LOUIS – A plane carrying the Mississippi State men's basketball players made an emergency landing in St. Louis when one of its engines failed, and a spokesman said Sunday the team plans to take a bus home.
The mishap occurred after the Bulldogs defeated the Missouri Tigers 77-74 Saturday in Columbia, Missouri. Mississippi State coach Rick Ray posted on Twitter that he heard a loud noise from the twin-engine plane before the flight attendant announced it had "lost an engine" and needed to land.
"Oh, that's all?" Ray deadpanned. "Landed safely."
Team spokesman Gregg Ellis tweeted the team would bus back to Starkville on Sunday after spending the night in Festus, Missouri. He said the team was staying in a hotel there, about an hour drive from St. Louis, because rooms in St. Louis were at a premium due to Mardi Gras festivities and strong winds prevented a replacement plane from leaving Kentucky.
"Hey, it's the Arch," Ellis quipped. "Sightseeing at midnight. Awesome."
Ellis pointed out it was the second close call for the team in less than seven years. During the 2008 Southeastern Conference tournament in Atlanta, the roof of the Georgia Dome was ripped open by a powerful storm toward the end of the Bulldogs' game against Alabama.
"I've now survived a tornado during a game and a blown engine in flight," Ellis tweeted. "All with MSU basketball. So is that 7 lives left for me?"
Mississippi State improved to 12-13 overall and 5-7 in conference play after its win against Missouri. The Bulldogs' next game is Thursday against rival Mississippi.