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ASU Football: Graham talks airplane scare

The Sun Devil football coach had a scare in the air on his way to visit a recruit.

Mark Nolan

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham faced a close call over the weekend as the cabin of a plane he was traveling on depressurized in the air.

The Arizona Republic's Doug Haller reported on Sunday evening that a small charter plane carrying two pilots, Graham and his son (running backs coach Bo Graham) was forced to make an emergency landing in Albuquerque on Friday. On Monday, Graham spoke to the media about his experience and described it as surreal.

"It was pretty scary," Graham said. "The thing that most scared me was probably being with my son. I guess things like that happen, but not much to say other than I'm thrilled to be here."

The coaches were on their way to Texas to attend a recruit's game when the cabin lost pressure and the oxygen masks came down. Graham said he's never experienced a situation like that before, but he acknowledged the hard work of the pilots to ensure his and his son's safety.

"The plane depressurized so they had to dive down to where you could breathe normally," Graham said. "It was about 35,000 feet and then it depressurized and they were pretty frantically working to get the plane stabilized and down where it needed to be."

Graham said his coaching instincts took over and he joked about his need to be in control of everything around him.

"I got up out of my chair about halfway through it and went up and grabbed the guy (the pilot) by his shoulder and asked him if the engines were still on," Graham said. "He looked at me kind of startled. I kind of have a problem with control."

In the end, the pilots were able to land the plane safely in Albuquerque before another plane picked up the father-son combo and carried them on to Texas. Graham realizes how lucky he is and he has now vowed to pay closer attention to safety instructions when traveling in the air.

"When I usually sit on the planes, I don't pay attention to the little safety deal," Graham said. "You probably want to pay attention to that."