Semi-retired Nascar ace Dale Earnhardt Jr., his family and two pilots escaped serious injury when the private jet that was carrying them skidded off the runway at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee.
The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that the Cessna Citation overran the runway after landing at 3:40pm on Thursday, and subsequently caught fire. All aboard the plane survived and were taken to hospital with minor injuries. They were discharged several hours later.
Shortly after the crash, Earnhardt’s sister Kelley sent out a Tweet confirming that all on board were safe. “I can confirm Dale, Amy & Isla along with his two pilots were involved in a crash in Bristol TN this afternoon,” she said, adding, “Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no further information at this time. Thank you for your understanding.”
Multiple champion Earnhardt - who currently competed part-time in the Nascar Xfinity Series - was due to be part of the commentary team for the Nascar Cup race this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Understandably, he’ll be giving that a miss.
In a statement, an NBC spokesperson said:
“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.”