Investigators Release Information About Crash of Plane Carrying Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
ELIZABETHTON, TN- Foxcarolina.com writes that the National Transportation Safety Board released documents about the plane crash that occurred in Elizabethton with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family on board. Fortunately, the five people on the aircraft survived the crash. A dog on board also survived.*
The plane, identified as a Cessna Citation, was landing at an airport in Elizabethton, but something went wrong, and the aircraft crashed and caught fire, temporarily trapping the occupants inside.
The pilots and Earnhardt reported that the plane came down hard, and it appears that the landing gear on the right of the aircraft collapsed. The retired racecar driver tried to open the plane’s emergency door along with one of the pilots, but it was stuck. Earnhardt stated that he then tried to open the rear hatch while one of the pilots attempted to open the main cabin door.
Meanwhile, the plane was filling with smoke, and flames could be seen coming from the bathroom.
The pilot eventually was able to kick the door enough to open a small space. The pilot exited, and Earnhardt passed his daughter, who was fifteen months old at the time, through the space before he and his wife squeezed through. According to Mr. Earnhardt, the space they had to exit was about as large as a conventional oven.
Reports indicate that after the plane hit the ground, it bounced, and then traveled down a hill, across a creek, through a fence and then came to a stop next to a highway. A witness stated that following the crash, she saw Earnhardt on the ground and clearly injured. The pilot later stated that he might have deployed the plane’s thrust reversers too soon.
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