Villanova players and coaches say they have a new lease on life after their chartered plane made an emergency landing in Providence, R.I., early Wednesday morning.
The Wildcats, fresh of a thrilling 83-78 overtime victory over the Friars on Tuesday night, took off from Providence at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday on a foggy, snowy night. Villanova spokesperson Mike Sheridan said the climb didn't feel right and the plane was dipping hard to the right and the left.
He said the flight attendant came out to tell the traveling party on the 50-seat plane to prepare for "an emergency crash landing."
"We were in the crash position for the landing," coach Jay Wright said. "We were never told that it was going to be OK. Everyone on the plane thought we were going to die."
Wright said there was "dead silence," during the landing and that no one on the plane panicked.
The plane was in the air for a total of 12 minutes but safely landed back in Providence. The cause was apparently an instrument failure that affected the plane's ability to climb.
When the plane landed, there were fire trucks waiting for the passengers.
Sheridan said the flight attendant instructed Wright how to open the emergency exit door if the plane were to land in the water and how to get people out of the plane in water. She also gave tasks to other members of the traveling party.
"There was a round of applause when we landed," Sheridan said.
Wright said the episode was a learning experience.
"We all feel like we got a second life, a second chance," Wright said. "Nobody had ever gone through this. This has definitely brought us all closer together."
The Wildcats will charter to the Boston College game next Wednesday, but don't be surprised if they're a bit unnerved about flying. They play host to Georgetown on Saturday.
The team returned to the Providence Westin after the emergency landing and some took another charter flight back to Philadelphia on Wednesday morning.
Wright said that at least one assistant and a few other members of the traveling party opted to take the train home.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.