A Cessna Citation 680 business jet carrying former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife, Amy, and their 1-year-old daughter, Isla, along with two unidentified pilots, overran the runway at Tennessee’s Elizabethton Municipal Airport (0A9) on Thursday. No serious injuries have been reported, although the family and pilots were transported to Johnson City Medical Center for medical evaluation. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was reportedly treated for injuries described as “cuts and abrasions.”
“I can confirm Dale, Amy & Isla along with his two pilots were involved in a crash in Bristol TN this afternoon,” Kelley Earnhardt, Dale’s sister, shared via Twitter. “Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no further information at this time.”
UPDATE: Earnhardt released a statement on social media a few days after the accident. “Amy and I want to thank everyone who has lifted us up with phone calls, messages and prayer since last Thursday. We are truly blessed that all on board escaped with no serious injuries, including our daughter, our two pilots and our dog Gus. With respect to the investigation, we will not be speculating or discussing the cause of the accident. I am thankful for the quick response of my pilots, local law enforcement, emergency personnel and hospital staff. Lastly Amy and I continue to be very appreciative of the privacy extended to us to process everything. It has been important to do that together and on our own time.”
The accident, which is under investigation by the NTSB, occurred at approximately 3:40 p.m. local time. The aircraft went through a ditch and a fence, coming to rest approximately 1,000-feet beyond the end of the runway near a highway. The flight originated in Statesville, North Carolina, and lasted about 20 minutes. The aircraft was registered to North Carolina-based JRM Air, LLC. Potential causes for the overrun have not yet been given and the aircraft appears to have been destroyed by a post-crash fire.
In a briefing held on Friday, NTSB senior investigator Ralph Hicks reported that the NTSB has acquired video footage of the accident from surveillance cameras on buildings around the airport. According to Hicks, the footage shows that the aircraft bounced at least twice before “coming down hard on the right main landing gear,” which collapsed. The aircraft was equipped with a cockpit voice recorder, which has been recovered. Hicks says the winds were calm at the time of the accident. A preliminary report on the crash is expected in about a week.