Jazz Team Plane Makes Immediate Landing After Hitting Birds During Takeoff

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 30, 2021

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert grabs a rebound against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

A Delta plane scheduled to transport the Utah Jazz from Salt Lake City to Memphis for the team's Wednesday evening road game against the Memphis Grizzlies was forced to make an emergency landing after striking a flock of birds.

Per Spencer Burt of Fox 13, no one was injured. The Boeing 757 pilot shut off the left engine and landed the plane safely without incident back at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Tony Jones of The Athletic provided more details:

Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba

The plane landed without further incident Everyone is safe, but shaken up From talking to those on board, it sounds like everyone needs a day to kinda recover. But no word on when the next charter takes off for Memphis. The Jazz play the Grizzlies tomorrow night https://t.co/q6J8pwn7IA

The Jazz are currently scheduled to play Memphis on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET at FedExForum.

Utah is now scheduled to take off at 7:45 p.m. ET for Memphis, per Ken Clayton.

Ken Clayton @k_clayt

The Jazz's charter flight has been rescheduled for 5:45 pm. https://t.co/nUMJwmRrR2

Brian Schnee of Fox 13 tweeted images showing damage to the plane:

𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐞𝐞 @brian_schnee

Here's the animated flight path via @flightaware ⬇️ https://t.co/8NDccTu25W

Flightradar24, a global flight tracking service, provided a visual of the Boeing 757's path. Sean Moody also showed the plane being escorted down the runway.

Sean Moody @SeanMoodyPhoto

Based on @flightradar24 data, Delta 8944 leveled off at about 8,200 feet after taking off from runway 35, headed south across the valley, and configured for a landing back on runway 34L. https://t.co/aOk89KzGA6

As noted by Sarah Todd of the Deseret News, numerous Jazz players posted on social media after the incident, including Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert:

Rudy Gobert @rudygobert27

It’s a beautiful day!

Donovan Mitchell @spidadmitchell


The Jazz currently sit first in the NBA standings at 35-11, and they are looking to win their seventh straight game.