Arizona State football coach Todd Graham and his son, assistant coach Bo Graham, may never feel relaxed while traveling by airplane again. After defeating Washington State on Sunday, Todd and Bo boarded a small plane to head to Dallas for a recruiting trip. The two were either sleeping or close to it when they heard a loud “boom” at an altitude of about 35,000 feet.
“I woke up and the pilots were putting on their (oxygen) masks,” Todd told Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. “The plane started shaking.”
After that, Todd said the plane began diving. Bo had to get out of his seat in order to get an oxygen mask.
“There were sirens going off,” the younger Graham explained. “I saw the pilots put on their masks. It took a couple minutes for ours to come down. Actually, mine didn’t fall down so I had to go up front and get one.”
“I was kind of in denial. When you start off on the planes and they’re giving you the whole ‘When the mask falls down” speech, you never think it’s going to happen. But when it did happen, I was thinking, ‘Is this really going down? Right here?’ I mean, come on. In the desert of New Mexico? There are a lot better places to take a fall.”
Bo added that the pilots were not saying anything, so they had no idea what was going on. Todd said the thought of death actually entered his mind.
“I’m not lying. I thought this might have been it,” he said. “Bo looked like he was in shock.”
Obviously, they lived to tell the tale. Thank goodness for that. The plane had apparently lost cabin pressure and stabilized once the pilots brought it down to 10,000 feet. They then made an emergency landing in Albuquerque, where the coaches waited a few hours for another plane. Needless to say, the experience stuck with them.
“I had a migraine,” Bo said. “I was almost asleep when this happened. But after this, I couldn’t sleep through the next night.”
Most people ignore the safety speech at the start of a flight, thinking or hoping that most of the information will never be useful to them. Fortunately for the Grahams, it sounds like the pilots were able to avoid a situation that could have been much worse.