SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz players and staff finally landed in Memphis, Tennessee Tuesday night after their plane made an emergency landing earlier that afternoon.
All-Star Donovan Mitchell was not on the plane and will not play in Wednesday's game there. The team released a statement that said Mitchell did not make the trip for "personal reasons."
He was aboard Delta flight 8944 — a chartered plane taking the team to face the Memphis Grizzlies — when it struck a flock of birds as it was taking off from Salt Lake City International Airport around 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The collision resulted in the plane's left jet engine failing and catching fire, and the pilot made an emergency landing back at the airport without incident. No injuries were reported (except for the birds).
Some Jazz players expressed their gratitude after landing safely:
GOD is good 🙏🏾🙏🏾
— Royce O'Neale (@BucketsONeale00) March 30, 2021
— Mike Conley (@MCONLEY10) March 30, 2021
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) March 30, 2021
— Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) March 30, 2021
It’s a beautiful day!
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) March 30, 2021
The plane landed, taxied, and was towed to Delta's hangar for repairs.
Later Tuesday evening, team members were seen boarding a new plane that took off shortly thereafter. A Jazz spokesperson confirmed that they had again departed for Memphis.
The plane landed at Memphis International Airport shortly after 11 p.m. (EDT), according to FlightRadar24.