Update: Dale Earnhardt Jr., family survives plane crash at Elizabethton Municipal Airport

Published 5:41 pm Thursday, August 15, 2019


At around 3:30 Thursday afternoon, a plane containing Dale Earnhardt Jr. family’s plane ran off the runway of the Elizabethton Municipal Airport and caught fire.

Inside were Earnhardt Jr, his wife, Amy, 15-month-old daughter, Isla, two pilots and the family dog.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Carter County Mayor Russell Barnett said when officials arrived on the scene, the plane was engulfed in flames.

“The plane was fully engulfed,” Barnett said. “There was about 1,000 pounds of fuel.”

That fuel did leak into a nearby creek, but it has been contained.

Elizabethton Fire Chief Barry Carrier said they let the remaining fuel burn itself off.

“Our best course of action is to let the rest burn off,” Carrier said on the scene.

Fuel was still smoking when media arrived about an hour later.

As for the five occupants, officials said all occupants and the family dog escaped the plane relatively quickly. Earnhardt Jr. was taken to the hospital for evaluation and later released.

County deputies almost immediately closed off northbound traffic on Highway 91 as a safety measure, and the road is likely to remain closed for at least the next 24 hours, maybe even two days.

“We were very lucky,” Barnett said. 

Officials said a further investigation will be underway into what exactly caused the crash.