Former NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt Jr, his family and the two pilots escaped any serious injuries after a plane crash on Thursday.
Earnhardt Jr was traveling to Bristol Motor Speedway in East Tennessee with his wife Amy, 15-month daughter Isla and his dog, with two pilots flying him in a Cessna Citation private jet.
Upon landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, the plane skidded off at the end of the runway and caught fire but everyone onboard were able to escape without any major injuries.
Only minor cuts and abrasions were reported by Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford, with Earnhardt Jr the only one to be hospitalised. The former racer’s spokesperson told ESPN that all were doing okay.
Meanwhile, NBC Sports – where Earndhardt Jr now works as a media person – released a statement on the incident, which read as: “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.”
The 44-year-old’s sister Kelly took to Twitter to speak on her family. Her immediate tweet was: “I can confirm Dale, Amy & Isla along with his two pilots were involved in a crash in Bristol TN this afternoon.
“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.” A while later, she added:
“Finally laying down for the night and want to say thank you to God, the angels among us, our pilots, first responders, medical staff, our NASCAR family and everyone that has reached out in whatever way to support us all.”
The National Transportation Safety Board has sent two representatives to investigate the cause of the incident, with photos circulating of a charred fuselage on the side of a road, with its nose relatively intact.