Concerning this diversion, the following was reported in the Lake Charles media:
"LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - 7 News has confirmed the McNeese football team’s charter plane clipped the Lake Charles Airport runway light on takeoff, causing one of the plane’s tires to blowout.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson says the incident happened when the plane took out several lights near the end of the runway.
Officials with McNeese State University, said the plane carrying members of the football team en-route to Columbia, Missouri for this weekend’s game was diverted to Tunica, Mississippi.
Reportedly, the charter MD-80 plane was very close to Columbia, but for safety reasons, the plane was diverted to Tunica to land because of the landing gear.
None of the passengers on the plane were injured and everyone was transferred to another plane in Tunica to complete their journey to Columbia.
The FAA says an investigation into why the lights were clipped in underway, and they hope to complete it in 2 weeks."
It would appear that a very serious alternate outcome was narrowly avoided! (It gives me a weird feeling to know that I saw this A/C Friday morning at 1100 as it was passing over KLFT, descending toward KLCH for this pickup…and that just 2 short hours later it was nearly a pile of twisted metal!)