• 41°

Investigators: Earnhardt’s plane bounced, went off runway

More information released on crash

A member of the National Transportation Safety Board looks at the wreckage of a plane that Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife and daughter and two pilots and a dog were on when it crash landed Thursday at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Earnhardt Jr. will take the weekend off from broadcasting to be with his wife and daughter after the crash near Bristol Motor Speedway. (David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP)

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (AP) — The plane carrying NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family bounced multiple times during a crash landing and veered off the runway before ending up on a Tennessee highway, investigators said Friday.
“It’s just the grace of the good Lord that a vehicle didn’t get struck by the plane,” Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw said at a news conference. “It’s a very heavily trafficked roadway.”
Earnhardt’s sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, said in a statement that all five people aboard the plane Thursday are “doing well.” Earnhardt, now a NASCAR television analyst, was taken to hospital for evaluation Thursday and discharged that day.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ralph Hicks said the Cessna Citation Latitude had left Statesville, North Carolina, about 20 minutes before the crash at 3:40 p.m. Earnhardt was with wife Amy, 15-month-old daughter Isla, two pilots and a dog.
Hicks said investigators have obtained video footage.
“The airplane basically bounced at least twice before coming down hard on the right main landing gear,” he said. “You can actually see the right main landing gear collapsing on the video. The airplane continued down the runway, off to the end, through a fence and came to a stop behind me here on Highway 91.”
Federal Aviation Administration officials had said the plane caught fire after landing. Hicks said everyone aboard was able to evacuate through aircraft doors.
“As bad as this accident was, there’s a lot of good things that happened,” Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander said. “One being that everyone walked away. The second being at 3:40 in the afternoon, after school had just let out a couple of miles up the road, there were no cars involved in this accident.”
Hicks said investigators have spoken with the Earnhardt family and the two pilots, all giving accounts consistent with what was seen on video. Hicks expects investigators to release a preliminary report in about seven days that will provide basic facts but no conclusions about the cause. He said the cockpit voice recorder will be sent to the NTSB’s Washington headquarters.
Earnhardt’s sister said the family is assisting FAA and NTSB officials.
“We want to reiterate our appreciation to the NASCAR community, first responders, medical staff, and race fans everywhere for the overwhelming support in the last 24 hours,” she said.
Earnhardt retired as a full-time racer in 2017. He was to have been part of NBC’s broadcast team for Saturday night’s Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He is now taking the weekend off to be with his family.
___
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Comments

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18