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Jeff Eisenberg

UMass, North Carolina endure terrifying charter flights

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Almost 10 years to do the day after the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of 10 members of the Oklahoma State basketball family, two more teams experienced scary flights of their own.

UMass made an emergency landing in Albany on its way to St. Bonaventure on Tuesday afternoon after smoke filled the cockpit of its chartered plane. And North Carolina endured a turbulence-heavy landing in Miami hours later when its charter plane descended through a thunderstorm heavy enough to force most other flights to be re-routed.

The more severe of the two scares was definitely the UMass flight, which was greeted by fire trucks as soon as it touched down. Coach Derek Kellogg told ESPN.com he and his players definitely feared for their safety when told they had to make an emergency landing.

"I was sitting in the first row seat and I smelled something strange," Kellogg told Andy Katz. "The pilot came on about 10 minutes into the flight and said they were having problems and we had to make an emergency landing in Albany and that there was smoke in the cockpit. There was a strange odor. I tried to make sure the guys were calm and the crew did a good job of keeping everyone calm."

The Minutemen had to be calmer than the Tar Heels, who sent out a serious of tweets after their harrowing landing acknowledging they were very thankful to be on the ground safely. FoxSportsSouth.com compiled them:

• Guard Dexter Strickland: "WOW!! I really just had flashes of death on this plane! This plane ride just scared me for life!! God is too Good!!"

• Strickland: "I can't believe there was really a moment on this plane ride when I thought it was over."

• Strickland: "I still have my barf bag in my pocket."

• Guard Leslie McDonald: "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?"

• Guard Larry Drew III: "Those are the type of flights that make you wanna do good, change ya life around. Lol"

Thankfully both teams made it to their destinations safely. Would anyone blame them if they choose to drive on the return trip?

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