Utah Jazz team lands safely after birds strike plane

The Utah Jazz's team charter flight took off for Memphis before quickly returning back to Salt Lake City airport on Tuesday afternoon after birds struck the plane, according to a Jazz spokesperson.

"Fortunately the plane landed safely," the Jazz spokesperson said. "Everybody is shaken, but they’re okay."

The spokesperson added the Jazz have not determined whether it will fly to Memphis later on Tuesday for Wednesday's game against the Grizzlies. 

The Jazz's charter plane took off sometime between 1:30-2 p.m. MT before birds struck the plane, the spokesperson said. It was not immediately clear how the severity of the plane's engine damage following the bird strike, but it was concerning enough for the plane to turn around shortly after just getting up to altitude. 

Here’s a look from @KSLChopper5 at fire crews escorting a Delta 757 across @slcairport. We don’t have a ton of info yet, but @flightradar24 shows the flight taking off and immediately returning to land. @KSL5TVpic.twitter.com/vL48pe4qPw

This is the second such incident involving a sports team in the past week. The Michigan women's basketball team's plane was forced to make an emergency landing on Saturday night while flying home from San Antonio following an overtime loss to Baylor in the NCAA tournament. 

According to the Detroit Free-Press, the plane lost considerable altitude, lost cabin pressure and the passengers had to use the deployed oxygen masks. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Evansville, Indiana, about 430 miles southwest of Ann Arbor. 

Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

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