Dale Earnhardt Jr. Taken To Hospital After His Plane Skids Off Runway, Catches Fire: Reports

Illustration for article titled Dale Earnhardt Jr. Taken To Hospital After His Plane Skids Off Runway, Catches Fire: Reports
Screenshot: WJHL

Retired NASCAR driver and current broadcaster Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy Earnhardt were on a plane that crashed at a Tennessee airport and caught fire Thursday, according to news and social media reports. Local outlet WJHL reported that all three aboard the plane were uninjured, but said in a subsequent update that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was taken to a local hospital.

Despite the original injury report from the local fire chief, in the update, WJHL said the area Carter County Sheriff’s Office was unsure of his condition.

A later update said “preliminary information indicates that three people on the plane evacuated no injuries were reported to the FAA.”


In addition to that, a tweet from Kelley Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s sister, said everyone is “safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation.”

Here’s a video of what was happening, via WJHL:


WJHL reports that the plane caught fire after crashing at Elizabethton Airport—about a 23-minute drive from Bristol Motor Speedway, where NASCAR is racing this weekend—when it ran off of the end of the runway.

The outlet reported that all passengers were out of the plane, identifying the Earnhardts in a later update that said the Elizabethton fire chief, Barry Carrier, said they were not injured in the crash.


The next update, which came at 4:30 p.m. ET, said Earnhardt had been taken to the hospital and that the sheriff’s office was “unsure of his condition.”

Patch reported that a spokesperson from the Federal Aviation Administration also said all three were uninjured, so it’s unclear whether the update on Earnhardt from the sheriff’s office was a new development.


Update: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 at 5:05 p.m. ET: Chattanooga news station WTVC tweeted an update on Thursday afternoon, reporting that the sheriff’s office said five people were on the plane: the Earnhardts and their child, the pilot, one other person and the family dog. There were no serious injuries, the sheriff’s office told the station.


Update: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 at 8:36 p.m. ET: NBC Sports announced via Twitter on Thursday night that after being discharged from the hospital, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not participate in the weekend’s Bristol broadcasts in order to be with his family.

Staff writer, Jalopnik

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Probably trying to nudge another plane off the racing line and misjudged it.