Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed on Twitter Monday that he and his family escaped a fiery plane crash in Tennessee on Thursday with no serious injuries but has left fans to mull what could have caused it.
In his first public statement since the retired NASCAR driver’s Cessna erupted in flames at an airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, Earnhardt thanked his followers for the outpouring of support but was quick to quell questions regarding the root of the wreck.
“With respect to the investigation, we will not be speculating or discussing the cause of the accident,” he said in the tweet. “Amy and I continue to be very appreciative of the privacy extended to us to process everything. It has been important to do that together and on our own time.”
Federal investigators are examining surveillance video of the plane crash that shows the aircraft bounced twice on the runway before skidding into and out of a ditch around 3:40 p.m. Thursday.
NTSB officials said the plane came down hard on its right-main landing gear before finally coming to rest 1,000 feet past the runway.
Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, their 1-year-old daughter, Isla Rose, their dog, Gus, and two pilots were on board at the time. Earnhardt, 44, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and discharged Thursday, officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday it would have a preliminary report within seven days.
Earnhardt was headed to a race at Bristol Motor Speedway at the time to work as an on-air analyst for NBC Sports. He ultimately took the weekend off to be with his family, the Associated Press reported.
Until Monday, his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, was the only family member communicating with the public. In a statement Friday, she said, “Dale, Amy, Isla and our two pilots are doing well.”