More details released on the plane crash in Tennessee
Yesterday afternoon, a plane transporting people to the NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway crashed upon landing in Tennessee.
Watch the Dale Earnhardt Jr plane crash videos below.
Passengers included: Dale Earnhardt Jr; Amy Earnhardt; their daughter; two pilots and the family dog (Gus).
The plane left from Statesville, North Carolina for the Elizabethton Airport in Carter County, Tennessee. It was a very short flight. However, as previously reported, the plane had approximately 1,000 gallons of jet fuel.
Upon landing, the plane bounced on the runway. The impact then broke the right side landing gear after multiple bounces.
The plane scraped along the pavement. It soon reached the end of the runway. The broken plane rolled through a fence and into a ditch. It then bounced out of a ditch before coming to a stop right next to highway 91.
Smoke billowed out of the plane while passengers remained inside. After several minutes, all passengers were able to escape without serious injuries. They escaped on their own after multiple attempts to open the side door on the aircraft.
Dale Earnhardt Jr was transported to a local hospital but was then released.
Dale Jr is a part of the broadcast TV crew for this weekend’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway. After the crash, it was announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr will take the weekend off.
NBC Sports Statement: “We’re incredibly grateful that Dale, his wife Amy, daughter Isla and the two pilots are safe following today’s accident,” the NBC statement opened.
“After being discharged from the hospital, we communicated with Dale and his team and we’re all in agreement that he should take this weekend off to be with his family. We look forward to having him back in the booth next month at Darlington,” the statement concluded.
“The weather conditions were ideal with calm winds,” Ralph Hicks, a senior investigator with NTSB told reporters on Friday.
“We were able to obtain surveillance video from buildings around the area. That includes footage of the accident happening. We were able to observe that footage this morning.”
That surveillance footage of the landing is expected to be released in about a week.
“The airplane basically bounced, at least twice before coming down hard on the right side landing gear. You can actually see the right side landing gear collapsing.”
“It was a firm landing. There’s no definite touch down marks on the runway.”
“The airplane continued down the runway, off through the end. It went down into a ditch and came back up.”
“It went through a fence and came to a stop behind me on highway 91.”
“It appears that the fire is a post crash fire. We’re not hearing of any communications that indicated any kind of problem.”
The airplane was a private aircraft. Inside, 2 seats for the pilots and 9 seats for passengers. The twin engine plane was built in 2015. The plane is registered to JRM Air, LLC.
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Plane Crash investigation
Investigators now plan to remain at the site for 2-3 days. They’ll cut up what’s left of the plane. They’ll also document all of the flight controls.
The airplane did have a cockpit voice recorder. That will be sent to the NTSB headquarters in Washington, DC for evaluation.
There were two pilots on board. Both were professionally trained.
“We have spoken to both pilots today. The information they provided us is very consistent with the video.”
The runway at the crash site is 4,500 ft.
“The pilots can choose the direction of landing. It’s not a towered airport. Based on the wind information, they can pick the direction.”
“We don’t see any indication that the initial touchdown was too long, based on the video. But, we are going to look at the flight data information and nail that down closely.”
“The airplane was capable of landing at this runway. There’s no operating control tower here. We walked the runway and were able to find skid marks and tire marks that are consistent with this airplane.”
“We’re very happy to be here today, talking to the survivors. Their comments were consistent with the video.”
“We’re going to do it methodically. System by system to make sure we don’t corrupt any evidence.”
The NTSB will release an official report in about 7 days.
Cover photo: Jeff Gluck