Earnhardt Plane Crash Had a Lucky Twist

Their Cessna Citation ended up on a freeway
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 17, 2019 4:45 PM CDT
Earnhardt's Plane Bounced Onto a Highway: NTSB
A small plane lands Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, behind the wreckage of a plane that Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife and daughter and two pilots and a dog were on when it crash landed Thursday at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tenn.   (David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP)

Investigators say the plane carrying NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family bounced, veered off the runway, and ended up on a highway during a crash landing at a small airport in Tennessee, the AP reports. Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw said at a news conference Friday "it's just the grace of the good Lord that a vehicle didn't get struck by the plane." National Transportation Safety Board investigators obtained surveillance video that included footage of the crash. "The airplane basically bounced at least twice before coming down hard on the right wing landing gear,” says NTSB Senior Investigator Ralph Hicks, per NBC Sports.

“You can actually see the right wing landing gear collapsing on the video. The airplane continued down the runway, off to the end, through a fence and came to a stop … on highway 91." The NTSB plans to issue a preliminary report in about a week. All five people aboard were safe. Earnhardt was to be part of the network's broadcast crew for Saturday's Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He decided after the crash to take the weekend off to be with his family. (Read more plane crash stories.)

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