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NTSB: Collapsed landing gear to blame for Dale Jr.'s plane crash

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 8/23/2019 Natalie Neysa Alund, Nashville Tennessean
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The National Transportation Safety Board determined a mechanical malfunction resulted in the plane crash in East Tennessee in which Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife, Amy Earnhardt, and their young daughter, Isla Rose, suffered minor injuries last week. 

The fiery crash took place on Aug. 15 at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Two other people — a pilot and copilot — as well as the Earnhardt's family dog, Gus, were on board the aircraft, and were uninjured, according to an NTSB aviation accident preliminary report.

The plane experienced a hard landing and bounced, leaving the runway and catching fire, the Accident and Incident Notice report from the Federal Aviation Administration said.

According to the NTSB report, which shed more light on the crash, airport surveillance video captured the plane's initial touchdown near the runway touchdown zone, and portions of the accident sequence.

"The airplane bounced twice, then continued airborne down runway 24 until it touched down a third time with about 1,000 ft of paved surface remaining," the report reads. "The video revealed that the right main landing gear collapsed and the outboard section of the right wing contacted the runway shortly after the third touchdown. The airplane departed the paved surface beyond the runway 24 departure end threshold, through an open area of grass, down an embankment, through a chain-link fence, and up an embankment, coming to rest on the edge of Tennessee Highway 91."

After the airplane came to a stop, the report continues, the flight crew secured the engines and assisted the passengers with an evacuation through the plane's main entry door. A post-accident fire was in progress during the evacuation, the report states.

The airplane came to rest upright, the report concludes.

Earnhardt went to a local hospital after the crash for observation, Carrier said. He was discharged from the hospital later Thursday with no major injuries reported.

The Textron Aviation Inc. 680A, N8JR, was destroyed in the crash, according to NTSB's report.

Reach Natalie Neysa Alund at nalund@tennessean.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s plane crash: Collapsed landing gear to blame

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