Scary news broke on Thursday, August 15 when Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s plane ran off the runway. While the race car driver, his wife, Amy Earnhardt (née Reimann), and their 15-month-old daughter, Isla Rose, were still inside, the craft caught fire. The family had been flying out of Elizabethton Municipal Airport at the time of the accident. Luckily, no one was killed or seriously injured.
According to ESPN, Dale, 44, was taken to the hospital, but was awake and alert at the time. The only injuries reported so far have been cuts and abrasions and the athlete assured one of the sports station’s reporters that everyone was OK. Others on board the plane included an unnamed passenger and the family dog as well as the pilots. The racer’s sister Kelley Earnhardt confirmed the news on Twitter.
I can confirm Dale, Amy & Isla along with his two pilots were involved in a crash in Bristol TN this afternoon. Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no further information at this time. Thank you for your understanding.
— Kelley Earnhardt (@EarnhardtKelley) August 15, 2019
“I can confirm Dale, Amy [and] Isla, along with his two pilots, were involved in a crash in Bristol, TN this afternoon,” she tweeted. “Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no further information at this time. Thank you for understanding.”
According to The Charlotte Observer, the crash took place just a few miles away from Bristol Motor Speedway, where the racer is scheduled to work with NBC over the weekend. They also reported that the plane’s fuselage had cracked, potentially because of the crash, and that may have been what ignited the flames. WJHL‘s photos of the scene show the flames and black smoke as the plane sits on its side at the edge of the runway.
Previously, the family lost patriarch Dale Earnhardt Sr. in a crash that took place during the 2001 Daytona 500. The athlete was 49 years old at the time of his death. Dale Jr. had also been driving in that race, though he finished before learning his father’s accident was fatal.