UT hoops plane rolls off taxiway

January 9, 2008 2:34:25 PM PST
The jet carrying the Texas women's basketball team got stuck in the mud when the plane rolled off the taxiway. No injuries or damage were reported. The No. 15-ranked team was on a charter flight from Austin on Tuesday night and plays at Nebraska on Wednesday night.

Team spokeswoman Barb Kowal was aboard and told the Lincoln Journal Star nobody panicked when the jet rolled off the pavement.

"Most people were sleeping," Kowal said.

There were 31 passengers and seven crew members on the Boeing 737, according to operator Ameristar Jet Charter of Dallas.

The jet landed without problems and was traveling at low speed, Lincoln Airport executive director John Wood said. After it turned off the runway and headed for the terminal, the pilot reported he lost hydraulic power and couldn't steer. Wood said the plane ran 50 feet off the edge of the pavement about 100 yards from the terminal gate before stopping in the mud.

"We haven't finished all the inspections required," said Stacy Muth, Ameristar Jet Charter vice president of operations. "We know the hydraulic line failed."

Two pro teams encountered similar trouble late last year.

In November, the Detroit Red Wings escaped injury when a jet's right wheels got stuck in the grass and mud at the airport outside St. Louis. In December, the Buffalo Bills' charter plane became stuck in the mud in Cleveland after the pilot took too wide a turn from one taxiway to another. The team was not on board and took buses back to Buffalo.

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