Saturday, September 20, 2008
Former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and disc jockey Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein were in critical condition with extensive burns Saturday after a jet crash the night before that killed four people, authorities said.
Lexington County Coroner Harry O. Harman said all the dead were Californians. He identified them as pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills; co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad; Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City; and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles.
The National Transportation Safety Board has sent team to Columbia, South Carolina, to investigate the crash.
The Learjet 60 crashed on takeoff at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport at 11:53 p.m. Friday.
Beth Frits, spokeswoman at the Joseph Still Burn Center, in Augusta, Georgia, said Barker and Goldstein arrived at the hospital early Saturday. She said both men had "extensive burns." Video Watch charred wreckage of the plane »
Barker and Goldstein had played at a huge free outdoor concert in Columbia's Five Points district on Saturday night, CNN affiliate WIS-TV said.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the twin-engine, private jet was cleared for takeoff on a flight to Van Nuys, California, and began its takeoff roll a few minutes before midnight.
Air traffic controllers "saw sparks coming from the runway -- whether that was from the aircraft or its engines, we don't know," Bergen said Saturday.
"They overran the end of runway 11. They impacted the antenna array and a number of lights at the end of the runway. They went through the perimeter fence and across the roadway here," said NTSB spokeswoman Debbie Hersman, briefing reporters on Saturday. "There was a significant post-crash fire."
William Owens told WIS-TV he was driving down Highway 302 when he said he saw a fireball go across the road.
"I didn't know what I had seen -- it was maybe 800 feet in front of me, but as I approached it closer though, I made out a fire. By then I was able to see the tail of the jet and I recognized it as a jet," Owens said.
Owens told the station he tried to get to the wreckage.
"It's in flames and the fuel is running across the road and I had to cross the fuel to get to the two guys that seemed to have been dumped on the highway," Owens said.
Owens told WIS-TV the two men were running around and pulling off clothing to put out the flames. He said he asked them if anyone else was on board the plane and they said four people were with them.
"We turned to the jet to try and see if there was anything we could do, but immediately, there was nothing anyone could do," Owens said.
The airport was closed Saturday morning, and Hersman said the NTSB was working as quickly as possible to document the evidence on the runway and other airport property, so the airport could re-open.
She said investigators would look at every aspect of the crash, from the pilots' schedules to the aircraft's condition. She said it was a fairly new airplane, which was manufactured in 2006 and certified to operate in 2007.
In addition to playing with Blink-182, Barker appeared in the MTV reality show "Meet the Barkers," along with his wife at the time, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, according to MTV's Web site.