A private plane that crashed in Tennessee Aug. 15 with former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family inside “bounced twice” before hitting the runway a third time, according to a preliminary report of the fiery accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its first report of the plane crash Friday, describing the accident based on airport surveillance video and the pilots’ account of the incident.
According to the report, the twin-engine Textron Aviation Inc. 680A airplane, also known as a Citation Latitude, “bounced twice” while landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. The aircraft then continued “airborne down runway 24 until it touched down a third time with about 1,000 ft of paved surface remaining,” the NTSB report states.
Airport video shows the right main landing gear collapsing and a section of the right wing clipping the runway shortly after the third touchdown. The airplane then leaves the runway and speeds through a grassy area before careening down an embankment, through a chain-link fence, and back up the embankment. The airplane comes to a stop at the edge of Tennessee Highway 91 and catches fire.
Mr. Earnhardt, his wife Amy, their daughter Isla, and their family dog escaped the plane with minor injuries. The two pilots were uninjured.
The NTSB report also states that after the second bounce, the pilots attempted a go-round “but the airplane did not respond as expected,” so they were forced to land on the runway and could not prevent the excursion.
The plane involved in the crash is registered to Mr. Earnhardt’s race team, JR Motorsports.
The NTSB continues to investigate the crash. The agency normally issues a final report about a year after starting an investigation.