Investigators: Earnhardt's plane bounced, went off runway

A member of the National Transportation Safety Board looks at the wreckage of a plane that Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife and daughter and two pilots and a dog were on when it crash landed Thursday at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Earnhardt Jr. will take the weekend off from broadcasting to be with his wife and daughter after the crash near Bristol Motor Speedway. (David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP)

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (AP) — Investigators say the plane carrying NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family bounced, veered off the runway and ended up on a highway during a crash landing.

Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw said at a news conference Friday "it's just the grace of the good Lord that a vehicle didn't get struck by the plane."

National Transportation Safety Board investigators obtained surveillance video that included footage of the crash. They plan to issue a preliminary report in about a week.

Investigator Ralph Hicks says the Cessna Citation Latitude had left Statesville, North Carolina, about 20 minutes before the crash Thursday at 3:40 p.m. Earnhardt was with wife Amy, 15-month-old daughter Isla, two pilots and a dog.

NBC Sports says all five people aboard were safe. Earnhardt was to be part of the network's broadcast crew for Saturday's Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He decided after the crash to take the weekend off to be with his family.

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