Strange Coincidence: Marshall University Plane Evacuated

CEREDO, W.Va. — A charter plane carrying the Marshall football team to Saturday's game at East Carolina was evacuated Friday after smoke was reported in an engine, emergency officials said.

About 200 people, including players, coaches and media, were on board the plane as it was preparing to take off from Tri-State Airport at 11 a.m. No injuries were reported.

The incident came just four days before the 36th anniversary of the Marshall plane crash that killed 75 people, including most of the football team, on their way home from a game at East Carolina.

"It's just a mechanical problem. It was a minor thing," said Marshall sports information director Randy Burnside. "They should have this fixed. Everybody's fine."

Passengers calmly left the plane and walked into the terminal. The plane's departure was delayed for more than an hour.

Among the passengers was Keith Morehouse, sports director of Volunteer TV News' sister station WSAZ-TV in Huntington. Morehouse was 9 when he lost his father, Marshall Sports Information Director Gene Morehouse, in the 1970 crash. Keith Morehouse's wife, Debbie, lost both of her parents in the crash.

"I don't think it's as big a deal as some people are trying to make," Morehouse said.

An airport official did not immediately return a telephone message Friday.

The 1970 crash has been on people's minds because a movie about the rebuilding of Marshall's football program opens nationwide Dec. 22.

Check out video from our sister station WSAZ, whose sports director was aboard the plane: