Midair scare for Hopkins coaches

May 23, 2008|By EDWARD LEE

An airplane carrying Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala and offensive coordinator Bobby Benson from Sunday's NCAA tournament quarterfinal at Cornell University to Baltimore was forced to turn back after one of the plane's doors flew open in midflight.

Pietramala said he lost a jacket and some papers in the incident, which occurred about 3,000 feet in the air shortly after the airplane had left the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport at 4:15 p.m.

"All of a sudden you hear, `Bang!' and the door flies wide open," Pietramala recalled.

"We thought we were going to crash-land in Cayuga Lake."

The pilot was able to regain control of the aircraft and land it safely back at the airport, where he apologized to Pietramala and Benson, who were shaken.

"I said, `Thank you for getting us on the ground safely, but we're getting a one-way [car] rental and driving home,'" Pietramala said.

"I'm just happy to be here."

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