(naipublishers.com)As the crashed airplane began to fill through smoke, one of Dale Earnhardt Jr."s pilots kicked open up the main cabin door large enough for the NASCAR legend and his household to escape come safety, follow to a trove of records released this main by the national Transportation safety Board.

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All 5 people and also a dog made it through after the Cessna quote crashed when the pilots were trying come land in august 2019 in ~ the municipal plane in Elizabethton, Tennessee.
Both Earnhardt and also the pilots said NTSB investigators the it seemed the best landing gear broke down during a tough landing. The former driver, who was recently voted right into the NASCAR hall of Fame, make the efforts to open an emergency door with the assist of pilot Richard "Mike" Pope, however they couldn"t gain it come work.
Earnhardt additionally tried to get the rear hatch open. He told pilot Jeff Melton to shot the cabin door again.
According come a statement indigenous Earnhardt and his wife to accident investigators, there was heavy smoke coming from the bathroom and flames to be visible.
"They reported that Mr. Melton kicked open up the main cabin door broad enough so the he can exit. Mr. Earnhardt then handed his (15-month-old) daughter, who remained in his arms, to the pilot, and also then (Earnhardt and also his wife) each squeezed out the opening. He believed the opened was around the size of a standard oven."
Security video clip from the airport verified the crash. The aircraft bounced when it very first touched down and also on one more touchdown, the ideal landing gear collapsed and the wing guideline contacted the runway, follow to the NTSB examination summary.
After leaving the runway, the airplane went under a hill for 400 feet, also crossing a 25-foot wide creek bed prior to sliding up a hill, slamming with a chain-link fence and stopping on the leaf of a highway.
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That year, Earnhardt, who is now 45, to be voted together NASCAR"s most well-known driver because that the 15th right year. He won 26 times in the Cup Series.
Earnhardt, boy of the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, had actually survived a scary, fiery crash if racing.

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In 2004, he to be driving during a practice session in ~ an American Le Mans collection race in ~ the Sonoma Raceway in California. ~ a seemingly chaste looking one automobile wreck, Earnhardt"s automobile suddenly burst into flames -- engulfing his yellow Corvette in fire. In many interviews due to the fact that that accident, Earnhardt credits a spirituality being because that pulling him the end of the fire to safety.