Westmont survives a blowout on trip to NAIA Tournament

The Westmont men’s basketball team experienced a scary situation while traveling to the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City on Saturday

On the team’s connecting flight from Denver to Kansas City, there was a loud noise just after take-off.

“It got everyone’s attention but the plane kept going so we thought everything was going to be fine,” Westmont coach John Moore told Sports Information Director Ron Smith.

Guard Nate Marsing looked out the window and noticed that one of the plane’s tires had blown out.

“A minute later, the pilot came on the intercom and said we were going to have to return to the airport in Denver and fly by the tower so they could take a look. That’s when we knew this could be serious,” said senior forward Daniel Carlin.

Moore said passengers were given instructions for a crash landing. “We had to rehearse putting our heads down between our legs and then bracing ourselves for impact. I think everyone was thinking this could be our last day,” he said.

“I knew it was going to be one of two things,” said Carlin. “Either we were going to land and everything was going to be fine or we were all going to die.”

“The last couple of minutes were the hardest,” said Moore. “Because we were all seated with our heads down low between our legs, we couldn’t tell when the plane was getting ready to touch down. There was a lot of praying going on.”

To the relief of everyone on board, the plane landed without further incident. Emergency vehicles rushed to the plane to assist, but the crisis was averted. About 20 minutes later, the passengers were escorted off the plane and onto a shuttle bus and taken back to the terminal.

“A couple of hours later, we got on another plane and headed for Kansas City,” said Carlin. “Once we were in the air with all our tires intact, we felt fine.”

The Warriors play their first-round game on Thursday against Idaho’s Lewis-Clark State.

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