NTSB: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s plane ‘bounced’ twice on runway before crashing

The plane carrying Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife Amy and their daughter Isla bounced twice before coming down hard Thursday evening an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday.

The Cessna Citation owned by JR Motorsports in Mooresville North Carolina skidded off the end of the runway at 3:30 p.m.ET after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. It then caught fire.

Everyone, including the crew and Earnhardt’s dog Gus were able to escape with only minor injuries.

“He and his family are doing well,” Mike Davis longtime PR rep for Earnhardt said Friday “Dale was discharged from the hospital earlier today and NBC Sports has given him the weekend off from broadcasting to be with his family.”

An Elizabethton Fire Department official said Thursday that Earnhardt Jr., 44, and his wife were transported to the hospital out of an abundance of caution and without serious injuries.

In a Friday press conference, Ralph Hicks, senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, gave an update on the investigation into the crash.

After looking at surveillance video from buildings around the area, the NTSB determined that “the airplane basically bounced at least twice before coming down hard on the right main landing gear,” Hicks said.

“The airplane continued down the runway off to the end, through a fence and it came to a stop on Highway 91,” he added.

The NTSB will continue the investigation in the coming days, with a preliminary report available in seven days. According to Hicks, the investigation will include documenting evidence from the crash site and looking at the airplane systems — including a cockpit voice recorder — “very methodically.”

Hicks said that both pilots onboard were “professionally trained” and that, as far as the NTSB knows, the passengers were properly strapped in. They were able to escape “very quickly” in a matter of “one or two minutes” after the crash.

Many drivers sent their well wishes for the Earnhardt family on Thursday.

“Thank god everyone is safe,” former NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson tweeted. Fellow racers including Alex Bowman, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suárez shared similar thoughts.