A terrifying few moments for the Bulls as they prepared for takeoff on route to Indiana last Saturday.
Bulls radio analyst Bill Wennington recanted the story for ESPN:
“Apparently a compressor in engine No. 3 had some trouble, and it sounded like it exploded, but I guess it’s like a jet engine backfire, which is very loud,”
“Sparks fly out of it. It happened actually right after … the captain thrusts the engines forward and it revs up and starts to go, about three seconds after that you hear a ‘Boom!’ ‘Oh, what was that, are we stopping?’ The plane keeps going down [the runway] and you’re thinking, ‘Oh no, why aren’t we stopping?’
“It was funny, because we’re in the back of the plane, and the engines are right by us, and we hear it. They can’t hear it [in the front of the plane]. And apparently they couldn’t feel anything. And so we take off fine, and about five minutes later, two more booms, ‘Boom!, Boom!,’ and a couple people saw flames and sparks and stuff flying out [while looking out of] the window. We’re all thinking, ‘Well, it’s been nice.'”
The plane then turned around and headed back to O’Hare airport, the players went home and returned the next morning and charted on the Blackhawks’ plane.
The players were shaken up from the harrowing events that transpired, and Mark Cuban even came out to lend the Bulls a plane, which they used to fly to San Antonio for Wednesday’s game vs the Spurs.
The team plane is expected to be fixed and in use for the rest of the season.