UofL Basketball Team Makes Emergency Landing

By: Malcolm Knox, Associated Press
By: Malcolm Knox, Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A plane carrying Louisville's basketball team to a game in Florida returned to the airport after the pilots received a fire warning that turned out to be false.

A spokeswoman for the airline operating the Cardinals' flight said the plane was at about 10,000 feet and less than 10 minutes into its flight Tuesday when a warning message in the cockpit indicated a fire on board.

ExpressJet's Kristy Nicholas said there was no fire, comparing the warning to a "check engine" light going on in a car.

Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein said no one was hurt and the coaches and players, including coach Rick Pitino, left the 41-passenger plane normally and didn't have to evacuate on slides.

"We had no idea what was going on," Klein said. "When we landed, we saw the fire equipment and figured something was up."

He said after the plane finished taxiing, the captain explained what happened.

"It's a routine response to a non-routine event," Nicholas said. "It's not unheard of that the light comes on, but it's obviously not something that happens every day."

Louisville airport spokeswoman Trish Burke said airport rescue and fire crews responded to the plane after being notified of the emergency landing by air traffic control around 4:15 p.m..

The second flight arrived in Tampa shortly after 11 p.m., Klein said. Louisville plays South Florida on Wednesday.

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