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Steelers back in Pittsburgh after charter flight from Las Vegas makes safe emergency landing in Kansas City

Steelers' charter flight makes emergency landing in Kansas City on way back from Las Vegas
Steelers' charter flight makes emergency landing in Kansas City on way back from Las Vegas 02:52

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Steelers are back in Pittsburgh after their charter flight home from Las Vegas was forced to make an early-morning emergency landing in Kansas City.

The flight from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh after the Steelers' Sunday Night Football game win took off just after 9 p.m. local time.

Flight tracking data shows the plane departed Las Vegas around 11 Pacific time Sunday night, but about an hour and a half into the flight, it started to drop altitude and made an emergency stop in Kansas City at 4:30 a.m. 

Steelers senior director of communications Burt Lauten confirmed the team's charter plane was "unexpectedly diverted" to Kansas City early Monday morning. Lauten said everyone was safe and there were plans to arrive back in Pittsburgh later in the day. 

A spokesperson for Kansas City International Airport told KCTV, the CBS affiliate in Kansas City, that a replacement plane was set to land in Kansas City around 10 a.m. Eastern time from Atlanta and the team would return on that plane. 

The Steelers landed back in Pittsburgh shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, about the emergency landing, joking about it being due to a call made during Sunday night's game against Minkah Fitzpatrick for roughing the passer.

Heyward went on to say that the Steelers might need a ride to Pittsburgh from Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift, who are rumored to be dating. 

"Anytime safety is in jeopardy or passengers or aircraft, where safety is an issue, we all stand up and take notice and in this case, it's our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers," said Captain Renee O'Shaughnessy, an airline pilot and the founder of Piloting 2 Wellbeing.

O'Shaughnessy has more than 10,000 hours in the sky as a pilot. She said these landings are literally by the book -- the handbook within every pilot's reach.

"With an emergency landing, it is a highly coordinated effort. The aircraft would have been given proximity clearance or priority clearance by air traffic controllers and the airport's emergency service would have been on standby, and in this case, it was the fire engines were there," O'Shaughnessy said.

O'Shaughnessy said the pilots had a team of experts helping them with each decision along the way.   

"We're ready for those types of situations, and we're ready to handle them. And as I said before, those pilots in that cockpit, they had a lot of resources at their hands. They had not only resources in the air but also resources on the ground," she said. 

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