CEREDO, W.Va. (AP) – A charter plane carrying the Marshall University football team to a game against East Carolina was evacuated after smoke was reported in an engine, airport officials said.

The flight took off after a two-hour delay and no injuries were reported among the 150 people aboard, but the timing was eerie.

Almost 36 years ago to the day, on Nov. 14, 1970, a plane carrying the Marshall football team home from a game against East Carolina crashed, killing 75 people, including most of the team. A movie about the rebuilding of Marshall’s football program after the crash is scheduled to open nationwide on Dec. 22.

Marshall’s sports information director at the time, Gene Morehouse, died in that crash.

On Friday, his son Keith Morehouse was aboard the Boeing 727 headed for the game in Greenville, N.C. The jet, originally scheduled to leave Tri-State Airport at 11 a.m., took off at 1:25 p.m.

“I don’t think it’s as big a deal as some people are trying to make,” Morehouse said before reboarding the plane for takeoff. He is now sports director of WSAZ-TV in Huntington.

Alpa Shah, director of operations for the Tri-State Airport Authority, said excess fuel burning off one of the engines caused the smoke.

“These things happen,” said Cabell County Sheriff Kim Wolfe, who was providing security for the team. “It’s just ironic, the timing of this one.”

AP-ES-11-10-06 1420EST



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