A flight from Cincinnati to Cleveland checks in at around 39 minutes, according to TravelMath.com. But for the Cleveland Browns, it was if Sunday's miserable loss to the Cincinnati Bengals extended into a painful overtime session on their charter flight home.
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, some of the Browns feel like they were lucky to be alive after a terrifying flight home after the game. Offensive lineman Jason Pinkston said the flight to on the Browns' team plane to Cleveland's Hopkins Airport Sunday night — after almost all other commercial flights had been grounded amid fierce winds — scared the life out of him and his teammates.
"It was terrifying,'' Pinkston told cleveland.com. "It was the real thing. The weather was so bad. We were coming in to land and (the pilot) had to go kind of fast to balance it out and we came down and we hit on two wheels. The (left) wing was literally three feet from hitting the ground.
"We're actually pretty lucky to be alive right now, to be honest. We really escaped one. We got away with one last night."
There was talk of busing home, but the flight was allowed to disembark prior to a "ground stop" being issued in Cleveland with rain and winds up to 50 mph. A Browns spokesman said the airport gave the Browns clearance to land.
But that was the easy part. Touching down proved far more difficult and frightening.
The plane reportedly swayed back and forth severely, and the left wing, according toi the players, nearly touched the runway. Some massive and manly football players were suddenly reduced to a cabin full of shrieks.
"There were a bunch of screams," said Pinkston. "You could hear everyone screaming on the plane. It was pretty real. I screamed, because I was sitting right over (left) wing. My window was open and I saw the whole thing."
Paul Kruger couldn't help but watch 295-pound teammate Billy Winn be scared to death.
“Billy was shaking like a little girl," kidded Paul Kruger.
Winn wasn't hiding from Kruger's account.
"Holy cow — I swear the wing was a couple feet from the ground," Winn said. "At the last second it was dead quiet right before the landing. We’re going to land and it got real quiet and I heard this big gust of wind and it went like that (a tilting motion with his hand) and came back and we recovered. We had a great pilot. A fantastic pilot. Bless his heart for getting here safely.”
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