FAA Releases Preliminary Cause of Earnhardt Jr. Plane Crash

COURTESY: TN Dept. of Transportation

An initial report released by the Federal Aviation Administration revealed more about a plane crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family.

The description in that FAA report reads, “Aircraft experienced hard landing, bounced, departed runway, and caught fire.”

NTSB officials arrived in Elizabethton Friday morning to investigate the crash.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take the weekend off from broadcasting to be with his wife and daughter after the three were in a plane crash landing Thursday in Elizabethton Tennessee.

The 44-year-old television analyst and retired driver was taken to a hospital for evaluation after the crash in east Tennessee. Earnhardt was with wife Amy, 15-month-old daughter Isla, a dog and two pilots.

“We’re incredibly grateful that Dale, his wife Amy, daughter Isla, and the two pilots are safe following today’s accident,” NBC Sports said in a statement. “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.”

Federal Aviation Administration officials said a Cessna Citation rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport at 3:40 p.m. Thursday. FAA officials said the preliminary indication is that two pilots and three passengers were aboard the jet.

The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that it’s sending two representatives to Elizabethton to begin investigating the crash.


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A private plane carrying former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr and his wife, ran off the runway this afternoon at the Elizabethton Airport, crashed and caught fire. Five people were on the plane, authorities say none of them were seriously hurt. Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford told WJHL TV the plane crashed through a fence at the end of the runway and came to rest, partially in Highway 91.

Lunceford says Dale Jr. was talking to medical workers when he arrived on scene and was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.  A NASCAR race is set to run Saturday night at the Bristol Motor Speedway.

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