CHICAGO — Delta Air Lines says a charter flight carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder from Minneapolis to Chicago apparently encountered a bird early Saturday when it was landing, causing damage that prompted some players to post photos on social media showing the caved-in nose of the plane.
No one was reported hurt. The Thunder are playing the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
“You never take anything for granted, just be thankful and blessed they we were able to land the plane and everything was OK,” Thunder star Russell Westbrook said. “Seeing stuff like that just shows you how you need to cherish life and understand the important things in life and embrace every moment.”
Carmelo Anthony, Josh Huestis, and Steven Adams all posted photos of the plane shortly after it landed around 12:45 a.m.
Anthony wrote on Instagram , “What possibly could we have hit in the SKY at this time of night? Everyone is Safe, Though.”
Adams’ Twitter post said , “We had a rough flight to say the least.”
Huestis wrote on Twitter , “I guess we hit something? 30,000 feet up…”
Delta Airlines spokeswoman Elizabeth Wolf said maintenance was evaluating the situation and that the damage was likely caused by a collision with a bird. She said the Boeing 757-200 landed safely without incident at Chicago’s Midway International Airport.
“Must’ve been a pretty big bird — a Pterodactyl maybe,” Thunder forward Nick Collison said.
Collison was watching the show “Stranger Things” when he felt the plane drop for a second like a “roller-coaster.”
“It’s one of those moments you bow your head and thank the man above,” Westbrook said.
Coach Billy Donovan said the plane encountered the turbulence about halfway through the flight.
“The plane dropped a little bit,” Donovan said. “Then they just basically told us they were trying to get to a lower altitude because they maybe were concerned about the cabin pressure.
“We landed safely. Thank God everybody was safe.”
The Thunder lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-116 on Friday night.
This version of the story corrects airline’s official name to Delta Air Lines from Delta Airllines.