NTSB Releases Preliminary Report From Earnhardt Crash

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The preliminary report from the plane crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family has been released by the NTSB. (Adam Fenwick Photo)
The preliminary report from the plane crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family has been released by the NTSB. (Adam Fenwick Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. – The National Transportation Safety Board has released the preliminary report from the investigation into the plane crash in Elizabethton, Tenn., that included Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family.

The report mostly echos the details released last week by Senior NTSB Investigator Ralph Hicks, who spoke to the members of the media on Aug. 16, a day after the plane crash.

The report states that according to airport surveillance footage, the plane bounced twice before continuing airborne down the runway until it touched down for a third time with approximately 1,000 feet of paved surface left.

The video then showed the right main landing gear collapse and the outboard section of the right wing make contact with the runway. The plane then left the runway, going through an open area of grass, down an embankment, through a chain-linked fence, back up an embankment before coming to rest on the edge of Tennessee Highway 91.

The pilots’ account of the crash was consistent with the video footage reviewed by the NTSB. In addition, the pilots indicated that after the second bounce, they attempted a go-around. However, the airplane didn’t react as expected and they landed straight-ahead on the runway and couldn’t stop the airplane prior to it leaving the runway.

No major injuries were sustained in the crash, though the NTSB report indicates that Earnhardt, his wife Amy and daughter Isla all suffered minor injuries. The pilots escaped unharmed.

Earnhardt confirmed Thursday that he still plans to race next week at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series despite suffering from bruising to his back as a result of the plane crash.

To read the full accident report, click below.