The famous NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and his wife were involved in a private plane crash in East Tennessee and were seriously injured, officials said Thursday.
Elizabethton fire chief Barry Carrier told to local news reporters that Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, were in the plane that crashed at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. The plane left the airstrip at 3:38 a.m., local police said.
Corner County Sheriff Dexter Lunsford said Earnhardt, who worked as a NASCAR television analyst for NBC since he retired as a full-time driver in 2017, is his wife and 15 months old. The daughter was traveling with two pilots and a family dog. The airport is 24 km from Bristol Motor Speedway, where Earnhardt is part of the commentary team scheduled for Saturday night races.
The retired driver’s sister, Kelly, tweeted that the crew was fine.
“Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no more information at this time. Thank you for your understanding.”
The Federal Aviation Administration says that Cessna’s title went out at the end of the runway and caught fire after landing. No injuries were reported, he said.
The FAA said there were two pilots and three passengers on board.
The FAA said the plane’s tail number was N8JR. During his career, Arnold drove the number 8 car for many years.
The chief carrier told CNN that when the fire broke out, five people were out of the plane.
The aircraft carrier said: “When our first unit arrived, there were strong flames coming from the plane. The fire continued to burn for 20 minutes.
The carrier said they were taken to the Johnson City Medical Center as a precaution.
The plane crashed into a fence, the chief said. The plane was wrapped with a section on the fuselage fence when it spoke of a stop.
“If the fence had stopped the exit, what could have been really bad,” the carrier said during a press conference at dusk. “They were very lucky.”
The carrier said the plane caught fire when the pilot and the passenger fled.
The carrier called the plane “substantially devastated.”
When a journalist asked him about Earnhardt’s condition, the fire chief said: “They had some problems. They transferred him in case of an emergency.”
The National Transportation Safety Board sends two investigators to the accident.