TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State football coach Todd Graham appeared to be still a bit shaken after a plane in which he was riding with his son on a recruiting trip during the weekend, plummeted about 25,000 feet before leveling off and making an emergency landing.
“It was really kind of surreal,” Graham said. “It was very, very scary.”
Graham and his son Bo, Arizona State’s running backs coach, were flying to Dallas to watch a recruit play when they were startled by a loud noise as their small plane hit 35,000 feet.
Father and son awoke to find the plane shaking, sirens going off and the pilots putting on their oxygen masks. Not long after, father and son put on their oxygen masks as the plane went into a dive.
“They were working pretty frantically to stabilize it,” Graham said.
With the plane still descending, Todd Graham climbed out of his seat and went to the cockpit.
“They weren’t saying anything. I … grabbed the guy by the shoulder, asked him if the engines were still on,” he said. “He looked at me kind of startled, like why was I out of my chair, but I kind of have a problem with control. He said, ‘Yes, the engines are still on, go back and sit down.’ ”
Graham did go back to his seat and the plane, which had depressurized, leveled off around 10,000 feet. The pilots made an emergency landing in Albuquerque, N.M.
Todd and Bo spent a few hours there before another plane arrived to take them to Dallas. They had an uneventful flight home.