ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WTHR) — A mechanical issue is being blamed for the fiery plane crash involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family in Tennessee.
According to WBIR, a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Cessna touched down at the beginning of the runway, but then it bounced and did not come back down until about 1,000 feet was left on the runway. The NTSB used video evidence to see the right, main landing gear then collapsed. The plane's wing hit the runway and the plane went off into the grass, down an embankment and then back up, coming to a rest on the edge of a highway.
The pilots told investigators that when the plane came to rest, they helped Earnhardt Jr., his wife and daughter, and their dog out of the plane.
The plane then caught fire with the main cabin area, the right wing and part of the tail were burned up by the fire.
The landing gear in question was badly damaged by the fire.
The pilots reported no issues prior to the landing and there were no weather issues reported at the time.