A charter plane bringing the Utah Jazz from Salt Lake City to Memphis on Tuesday made an emergency landing after striking a flock of birds. There were no injuries reported, but now, two days later, the team is sharing details of the harrowing moments in which they did not know what has wrong with plane and if they would survive.
"For a good 10 or 15 minutes, I think all of us on that flight were questioning if we were going to be here today. That's how serious it was for us," he said. "I can't speak for everybody, but I know that guys were trying to text family just in case, you know? It was that kind of situation."
According to Conley, some people on board saw flames on the outside of the plane and then minutes later it felt "like the plane was breaking apart in midair."
He went through the moment they began to know there was a serious problem:
"Nobody knows. Everybody's just quiet. It took the pilots probably five to 10 minutes, probably about 10 minutes, to go through everything, go through their checks and get back to us and let us know what was going on. Because it was obvious that something was really wrong with the plane ... It felt like the plane was breaking apart in midair. For five or 10 minutes, it felt like complete helplessness. We're thankful it wasn't as serious as it could have been, but it was scary."
Jordan Clarkson explained the severity of the situation, saying, "It got to that point where we were all on the plane like, 'This might be really the end.' I mean, it was a crazy situation. I understand fully why Don (Donovan Mitchell) didn't come."
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has a fear of flying and did not get on the next flight to Memphis after the bird strike. He missed the game for "personal reasons."
Clarkson, like Conley, confirmed that many on board began to think of the worst case scenario.
"It's definitely something, an experience, that we're happy to be able to tell. A lot of us really came to a point ... at least 30 seconds in that flight, everybody came to the point where it was like, 'Man, it might be over for us.' It's sad to say that," he said. "I don't play with death or anything like that."
The team gathered together on Wednesday to help each other process what they had been through. Jazz coach Quin Snyder spoke with the media about how this experience will impact each player in a different way.
"I don't know that an experience like that is just suddenly passed on and away. Everybody's impacted in different ways, all very significant," he said. "And it wasn't something that we were going to solve by just talking through everything, but I think it was important to acknowledge what we all went through [Tuesday], and, really, that same feeling of gratitude and appreciation for the fragility that we all live with, sometimes without being aware of it."
The Jazz play the Chicago Bulls at home on Friday.