The National Transportation Safety Board has released its initial report into the fiery crash of a jet carrying former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family last week in Elizabethton.
Earnhardt and his family were en route to Bristol Motor Speedway when their jet attempted to land at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport.
Airport surveillance video captured the initial touchdown, which occurred near the runway touchdown zone, and portions of the accident sequence, according to the NTSB report. The airplane bounced twice, then continued airborne down runway 24 until it touched down a third time with about 1,000 feet of paved surface remaining.
The video revealed that the right main landing gear collapsed and the outboard section of the right wing contacted the runway shortly after the third touchdown, the NTSB report states. The airplane departed the paved surface beyond the runway 24 departure end threshold, through an open area of grass, down an embankment, through a chain-link fence, and up an embankment, coming to rest on the edge of Tennessee Highway 91.
The pilots' account of the landing was generally consistent with the video, the NTSB said. The pilots also reported that, following the second bounce, a go-around was attempted; however, the airplane did not respond as expected, so they landed straight-ahead on the runway and could not stop the airplane prior to the excursion.
After the airplane came to a stop, the flight crew secured the engines and assisted the passengers with the evacuation. The main entry door was utilized to exit the airplane. A postaccident fire was in progress during the evacuation.
Earnhardt was taken to the Johnson City Medical Center for minor injuries. He's expected to appear this weekend in Darlington.