ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report on the plane crash that NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family escaped last week.
The report says airport surveillance video captured the initial touchdown on the runway at the airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and parts of the accident.
It says the plane bounced twice then went airborne down the runway until it touched down a third time. The plane’s right landing gear collapsed, and the right wing contacted the runway.
Then, the report says the plane ran off the runway, through a grassy area, down an embankment and through a fence, coming to a stop on a highway.
The flight crew secured the engines and helped Earnhardt; his wife, Amy; their 15-month-old daughter, Isla; and the family dog get off the plane. The report says a fire was in progress during the evacuation.
No one was seriously hurt.
The pilot and co-pilot reported that they attempted a go-around after the second bounce, but the plane didn’t respond as expected.
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The private plane was registered under JR Motorsports in Mooresville. The plane had taken off about 20 minutes before the crash from Statesville.
The NTSB report says the pilot flying the plane had reported 5,800 hours total flight experience, including 765 hours on the plane that crashed. The co-pilot reported 11,000 hours total flight experience, including 1,165 hours on the plane that crashed.
A cause for the crash has not been released. It’s unclear when a final report on the accident will be complete.
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