Dale Earnhardt Jr., family ‘safe’ after plane crashes, catches fire

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – A plane carrying NBC Sports analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr., wife Amy and daughter Isla, went off the runaway Thursday after landing at Elizabethton (Tennessee) Municipal Airport and caught fire, the Federal Aviation Administration reported in a statement.

Kelley Earnhardt tweeted that “everyone is safe” and that those on the plane had been taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family were arriving for this weekend’s NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The FAA statement read: “A Cessna Citation rolled off the end of Runway 24 and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee at 3:40 p.m. today. Preliminary indication is that two pilots and three passengers were aboard.  Local officials will release their names and conditions. The aircraft registration is N8JR, look up the owner at FAA.gov.  The FAA will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine probable cause of the accident.”

The charred remains of a plane lie along Highway 91 near Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tenn., after a crash landing Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife and daughter were on board the plane. everyone on board survived. (Calvin Mattheis/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

NBC Sports’ statement read: ““We’re incredibly grateful that Dale, his wife Amy, daughter Isla, and the two pilots are safe following today’s accident. After being discharged from the hospital, we communicated with Dale and his team, and we’re all in agreement that he should take this weekend off to be with his family. We look forward to having him back in the booth next month at Darlington.”

NASCAR issued a statement late Thursday night: “We’re extremely relieved to learn that Dale, Amy, Isla and the pilots of the aircraft are safe, and we commend the first responders and medical staff for their quick action. We look forward to seeing Dale back at the race track very soon.”

The National Transportation Safety Board will send two investigators to examine the crash scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s preliminary incident report Friday stated: “AIRCRAFT EXPERIENCED HARD LANDING, BOUNCED, DEPARTED RUNWAY AND CAUGHT FIRE”

The airport is located 14 miles southeast of Bristol Motor Speedway.