Plane Carrying ASU Football Team Hit by Lightning

Oct. 23, 2000

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - A plane carrying the Arizona State football team homeafter a game was hit twice by lightning and landed with a hole in its tail.

'I think everybody was fearing for their life,' tight end Todd Heap toldThe Arizona Republic. 'I had a flashback or two to things I had done in mylife.'

Besides the 60 players, the passengers on the America West charter flightSaturday included the coaching staff, athletic director Gene Smith and others.

Some players hung their heads. A few shed tears.

'We were praying,' offensive coordinator John Pettas said.

A call to America West was not immediately returned.

The team was returning after its 23-20 overtime victory at Washington State.About 60 miles from Phoenix, the plane was hit by lightning two times.

The first hit bathed the plane in a blinding flash of white light and thecabin went dark. The next hit, about 10 minutes later, was accompanied by ablue-orange glow.

Cheers erupted when the plane landed. Assistant athletic director Mark Brandsaid the pilot then grabbed a flashlight and checked the aircraft, discoveringa hole in the tail.

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