CBS Evening News
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is feeling blessed after surviving a horrifying plane crash on Thursday (August 15). The legendary NASCAR driver, his wife and their daughter were on board the Cessna Citation when it “rolled off the end of Runway 24 and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee at 3:40 p.m,” an FAA statement read.
During a press conference held after the fiery crash, Ralph Hicks, a senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said that “the airplane basically bounced at least twice before coming down hard on the right main landing gear. The airplane continued down the runway off to the end, through a fence and it came to a stop on highway 91.”
44-year-old Earnhardt and his wife Amy were transported to the hospital for evaluation, but were discharged without serious injuries.
In the days since the crash, Earnhardt has remained silent. But, on Monday (August 19), the driver broke his silence with a statement posted to social media. In the statement, Dale Jr. thanked everyone for their support and prayers and offered thanks to hospital staff, emergency personnel and his pilots for their response to the accident. He also made it clear that he would not be discussing details of the crash because it is currently under investigation.
Earnhardt also addressed the crash on his podcast Monday afternoon prior to a prerecorded segment. In the message he admitted that the last few days had been difficult and that he and his family are trying to get back to normal.
“We’re just trying to process what we went through, and we appreciate all the privacy we’ve been extended to do that,” Earnhardt said. “It’s been a very difficult few days for everybody. Me, my wife and our family are just trying our best to get back to normal as soon as possible.”
On Friday, the NTSB said a preliminary investigation report will be released in around seven days.