Duquesne University men’s basketball team and Temple University women’s gymnastics team are finally on their way home after being stuck for over 30 hours along with hundreds of motorists on the Pennsylvania Turnpike because of Blizzard Jonas.
Both teams had kept people updated on their progress, and lack of it, through the storm, on Twitter.
Basketball coach Jim Ferry said the team bus got stuck around 9.15pm on Friday and that players had eaten leftover pizza they bought on the way home from an 86-75 win over George Mason to keep them going.
Finally this evening both teams tweeted that they were moving again.
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Temple Gymnastics tweeted this picture above to show they were finally on the move
Clear road ahead: A few minutes later they shared another photo to show they were up and running again
Temple Women’s Gymnastics team looked to be in good spirits as they posed with snacks to keep them going while stuck in the snow
Temple gymnastics coach Umme Salmi-Beasley then said their bus, which left Philadelphia for a meeting at about 2pm on Friday, was also stuck on the turnpike about 80 miles from Pittsburgh.
‘It’s been a heck of an experience,’ he told SportsCenter. ‘We were making good time, kept track of the storm and we’re doing well. Then about 9.15 last night, it was a dead stop.’
Duquesne Basketball team tweeted that eventually players, coaches and support staff had to push their bus through the snow to get the team moving again. They shared a video clip of the action.
A still from the video the basketball team took of them pushing their coach to get it moving again
On Saturday evening Duquesne Basketball team tweeted that they were on the mobve
The team said players, coaches and support staff had to push the bus through the snow and shared a video clip of the action
The Duquesne Athletics Twitter account shared multiple images of the bus (left) carrying the men’s basketball team stuck in the snow on the Pennsylvania Turnpike
‘Looking back along our bus,’ the caption for this photograph said on Twitter
But while the teams were stuck they made the most out of the situation by playing games, watching movies, messing around in the snow and generally appeared in good spirits.
On Saturday morning Duquesne Athletics tweeted: ‘Just stepped off the bus | at least 18″ of snow outside the door.’
A photo was shared of player Nick Foschia making a snow angel outside.
The accompanying tweet said: ‘Nick Foschia: known for three-pointer celebrations, Cleveland sports knowledge, and now snow angels #DUQSurvivor.’
The players were also spending time with children on a nearby bus, according to another post from Duquesne Basketball: ‘We’re not in this alone! Dukes hanging out with middle schoolers from Iowa on the bus stuck next to us.’
Duquesne Equipment had posted an online poll asking who should push the team bus, with several options listed.
It later wrote: ‘UPDATE: The walk ons got voted to push the bus,’ and included a snap.
The men’s team’s Twitter account, Duquesne Basketball, tweeted Saturday: ‘Update: a fire department has arrived with cases of water for all stranded vehicles, including our bus.’ The team are pictured onboard above
Staying busy: Player Nick Foschia made a snow angel on the ground (left), while another showed team manager Alex Kwong playing charades on the bus (right)
Duquesne Athletics tweeted this map Saturday morning, saying: ‘.@DuqMBB now 9 hrs in same spot | safe on warm bus | hoping others out here are as fortunate #PATurnpike’
Photos shared to Twitter also showed water being delivered to the teams while they were stranded.
The players were among pockets of motorists who were stuck in the westbound lanes of the turnpike south of Pittsburgh, Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said. Some of those pockets stretch two or three miles.
Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement the backup was caused when trucks failed to climb hills. First responders are driving ATVs to reach the stranded motorists, Wolf said. The National Guard also has been called out.
‘The safety of Pennsylvanians is my top priority, as many areas across Pennsylvania have been hit hard by this storm, which features heavy snow falling at a fast rate,’ Wolf said. ‘First responders from multiple state, county and local agencies are working together to address issues and ensure people are safe.’
‘But you got to remember we have some big guys, so it’s hard to sleep on a bus like this,’ the coach said.
The team sped out of Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday afternoon, escaping the storm’s bullseye only to become stranded in Western Pennsylvania.
‘We played the game. We won. We got on the bus. We were making great time,’ Ferry said.
Hard at work: An online poll asked who should push the team bus, with several options listed. It was later revealed that the team’s walk-ons were voted to take on the task
These images were posted on Twitter and captioned: ‘.@DuqMBB stuck in standstill traffic on the turnpike. Snagged the remaining drinks from underneath the bus’
The Temple Gymnastics team tweeted out that they had been on the bus for 24 hours
Photos posted online showed water being delivered. Both the National Guard and firefighters were on hand
Baltimore fire department to the rescue: One tweet pictured left showed firefighters dropping off supplies for the stranded girls, while right, the players and coaches pass the time playing Uno
Saturday was supposed to be on an off day for the team, with their practice regimen resuming on Sunday before the next game on Tuesday. But the plan will likely change, Ferry said.
‘We just got to get these guys home and get them stretched out and get them some food,’ he said. ‘Right now we’re worried about the kids.’
Team spokesman Dave Saba told ESPN in a text message: ‘made it PA Turnpike before we had to stop at 9:15… Been in the same spot ever since… Guys have their electronics (our bus has been idling, so we have heat and power)… Leftover pizza… And a few Gatorades… Honestly, we’ve had two people on this bus who have beaten cancer in the past two years (Derrick Colter and John Rhodes)… I think our guys can handle this…’
Elsewhere in the US, hundreds of drivers were stuck on I-75 overnight after a massive winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow in south central Kentucky, clogging cars and causing multiple crashes that created a 30-mile stretch of shivering passengers.
By Saturday morning, I-75 southbound had been cleared and traffic was moving – albeit slowly. Northbound lanes were closed; Kentucky State Police say they anticipate opening them before noon.
Trooper Lloyd Cochran said he couldn’t give a figure for number of cars or people affected by the standstill but noted that no injuries were reported.
Elsewhere in the US, hundreds of drivers were stuck on I-75 overnight after a massive winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow in south central Kentucky
By Saturday morning, I-75 southbound had been cleared and traffic was moving – albeit slowly
Traffic was slowly moving slowly Saturday along the 30-mile stretch, from Berea to London, according to Buddy Rogers, spokesman for Kentucky Emergency Management. All local hotels were booked, Cochran said. He described people still stuck on the road, some milling about at exits or leaving their cars to seek out the few stores and restaurants nearby.
About 65 people had taken shelter at the West London Baptist Church Saturday morning, according to Jenny Saylor with the Lily Volunteer Fire Department.
‘They’re pretty tired, but content,’ she said. ‘We’ve got them food and drinks and we’re taking care of them pretty good.’