SJ - July 18, 2020
The NTSB released documents on Thursday that provide details of the August 2019 plane crash in Tennessee involving Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife and daughter.
It shows just how close the retired racecar driver and his family was to being trapped inside of the burning plane.
The plane crashed after a very rough landing and according to the documents, part of the landing gear collapsed after the hard landing caused the plane to bounce.
The bouncing also made the right wing touch the ground and after the plane came to a stop a fire broke out in the bathroom.
As the plane was filling with smoke, Earnhardt and the two pilots struggled to get the emergency exit door over the wing open. They eventually escaped through the main cabin door.
Earnhardt and the two pilots were unable to open the emergency exit door over the wing after the plane came to a hard stop, the report said.
“As they were attempting to get the rear exit door open, heavy smoke was coming from the lavatory,” the report said. “Mr. Earnhardt reported that he told Mr. Melton to try the main cabin door. At this time fire was now visible in the lavatory.”
Melton then kicked open the main cabin door wide enough so that he could exit.
“Earnhardt then handed his daughter, who was in his arms, to the pilot, and then they each squeezed out the opening,” which was roughly the size of a conventional oven, the report said.
I don't remember the reporting at the time of the crash revealing how close the Earnhardts came to not making out of the plane.
They're all really lucky to be alive.