Alabama fans survive plane crash on way to Ole Miss game, still make kickoff
Only in Alabama? A twin-engine plane of Crimson Tide fans made an emergency landing in rural Alabama on their way to Tuscaloosa, but they still made it to kickoff for the Ole Miss game.
Whenever a set of SEC football fans does something, let's say, enthusiastically devoted to their team, the temptation is to say, "Only in SEC country," when Oregon or Virginia Tech or Ohio State fans might very well do the same thing.
But then there are stories like this one -- in which a trio of Alabama fans (and one Auburn grad along for the ride) made an emergency landing of their twin-engine plane on a dirt road in rural Dallas County, Ala., and still made kickoff of the Crimson Tide's 33-14 win over Ole Miss -- when there probably is nothing to say other than "only in SEC country."
"I really thought we weren't going to make it for a while. I'm ready to be with the Lord, but I've got a lot of family and stuff," the Auburn grad, John White-Spunner, told Mobile, Ala., TV station NBC 15.
White-Spunner said the four passengers on their Cessna had decided to land near Selma, Ala., and pick up some barbecue on their way to the game when things went wrong.
"Coming in we lost one of the motors. He tried to get it restarted. Couldn't really get it re-started," White-Spunner said. "I'm thinking, we're probably getting ready to die."
But Spunner-White spotted the dirt road ("looked like a beacon there, all that red Alabama clay," the pilot said) and despite both wings of the plane colliding with trees on the way down, the pilot was able to land the plane and guide it into a nearby cotton field.
It's what happens next that truly shows the fans' devotion to the game, though: per a report from station WAFF in Huntsville, Ala., the foursome was able to hitch a ride to Montgomery (presumably with the help of a nearby family the pilot said had heard the crash), rent a car, and drive it to Tuscaloosa in time to watch the Tide kick off against the Rebels.
As for the plane, the Dallas County Sheriff's department told WAFF that by the time they arrived in the cotton field, it had been abandoned. The Federal Aviation Administration was expected to retrieve the plane sometime Tuesday.
After all of that, maybe it's a good thing the Tide's win over the Rebels was something of a snoozer. How much more excitement could these gentlemen have really handled?
Ranking the best draft-eligible college football players in the 2017 draft class
Taking a closer look at what went down during one of the biggest weekends of spring football...
The Wolverines will get a unique education in Italy, and maybe that's all that matters
Fitzerald is already the program's leader with 77 wins
Darryl Rudolph was just 55 years old
The Michigan coach nearly caused an international incident throwing a football