Frightening Details Emerge From 2019 Plane Crash Involving Dale Earnhardt Jr.
In August 2019, a scary scene unfolded in Tennessee after NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family were involved in a plane crash. Earnhardt Jr., his wife, Amy, and their then-one-year-old daughter, Isla Rose, including two pilots and the family’s dogs escaped without serious injury.
Documents released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board show just how lucky everybody on board is to be alive today.
NTSB investigators revealed part of the landing gear collapsed, which caused a section of the right wing hit the runway as the plane bounced twice before touching down a third time. The plane continued to skid through a fence and eventually caught fire and heavy smoke started pouring in.
“As they were attempting to get the rear exit door open, heavy smoke was coming from the lavatory,” the report said. “Mr. Earnhardt reported that he told Mr. Melton to try the main cabin door. At this time fire was now visible in the lavatory.”
Earnhardt and the pilot then attempted to kick the door open, but it was stuck. The pilot then got it opne, but only a portion of the way.
“Earnhardt then handed his daughter, who was in his arms, to the pilot, and then they each squeezed out the opening,” which was roughly the size of a conventional oven, the report said.
Witness Cheryl Campbell told the NTSB that she was driving when she saw the rear of the aircraft burst into flames after it crash-landed.
Campbell told investigators that she ran to the aircraft and saw a man who was not wearing a uniform “struggling and not walking.” Campbell said she asked the man his first name but she did not directly identify Earnhardt.
“He tried to get up and could not and was asking if his wife and child were out and ok,” Campbell wrote. “I assured him I had checked his wife and child and both were ok. I also told him his dog was ok when he asked.”
A final report from the NTSB has not been released.