Former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family were hospitalized after their plane crashed in eastern Tennessee, Thursday afternoon.
The private airplane, identified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a Cessna Citation, rolled off the runway upon landing at the Elizabethtown Municipal Airport and burst into flames. The crash occurred about 2:40 p.m. ET.
Mr. Earnhardt’s sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, tweeted that her brother, his wife Amy, their 15-month-old daughter, Isla, their family dog, and two pilots were all aboard the plane when it crashed.
I can confirm Dale, Amy & Isla along with his two pilots were involved in a crash in Bristol TN this afternoon. Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no further information at this time. Thank you for your understanding.
— Kelley Earnhardt (@EarnhardtKelley) August 15, 2019
According to The Tennessean, Mr. Earnhardt, his wife and daughter, the two pilots, and the dog escaped from the crashed plane and rushed from the scene as first responders arrived. Video of the plane crash shows the aircraft engulfed in flames and a plume of black smoke.
“Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation,” she tweeted. TMZ Sports reported later in the day that everyone who was on the plane has been treated and released from the hospital. The nature and extent of their injuries were not immediately clear.
The plane involved in the crash is registered to Mr. Earnhardt’s race team, JR Motorsports. It is a 10-seat, twin-engine aircraft.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent investigators to the site to launch a probe. Investigators have not yet indicated what could have happened to cause the plane to overshoot the runway.
A preliminary report of the plane crash by the FAA says the plane made a “hard landing” on the Elizabethtown runway and bounced before it departed the landing strip and caught fire.
Various reports indicate that the plane was preparing to land in Bristol, Tennessee, about 15 miles away. Mr. Earnhardt was scheduled to announce Saturday night’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race. It was later announced that he planned to spend the weekend with his family and would not announce the weekend races.
According to the Associated Press, Thursday’s plane crash wasn’t the first fiery crash for Mr. Earnhardt. The stock car racer has a burn scar on his neck from a 2004 car crash in Sonoma while doing warmups for an American Le Mans Series race that left him with second-degree burns. He also has a history of crash-related concussions that plagued him through his final years as a driver.
Mike Andrews, a lawyer in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability section, focuses much of his practice on aviation accident litigation. He has represented people seriously injured in aviation crashes, and the family of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes.