Georgia men's basketball coach Mark Fox was a passenger on a Delta flight Wednesday morning that had to come to a screeching halt on the runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after nearly colliding with another plane.
"We were running full throttle, getting ready to take off," Fox told ESPN on Wednesday. "And the pilot slammed on the brakes."
Delta Flight 873 was taking off when another plane reportedly crossed the runway in the path of the surging jet. A sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer who was on the Delta flight reported the pilot later told passengers an "administrative mistake" by air traffic controllers caused the incident, which jostled some of those aboard.
Fox was en route from Atlanta to Miami to visit Heat assistant Keith Smart, who has been battling cancer. Fox said they have known each other since the mid-1980s, when Fox was a high school coach and Smart was in the junior college ranks.
The Heat face the Charlotte Hornets in Game 5 of their first-round NBA playoff series at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The best-of-seven series is tied at 2.
Fox said that Delta flight 873 was scheduled to depart at 10:10 a.m. ET, but wound up leaving Atlanta just after noon. The plane was sent back to the gate to have the brakes inspected before a second attempt to depart.
"I was fine," Fox said. "It was just unusual. The pilot did a great job. Honestly, it wasn't that big of a deal."
Charlotte Observer sports writer Scott Fowler was also on the flight, and he wrote that it caused a "mild panic" among the passengers.
Fox said it appeared that no one was injured in the incident.