Pilot actions likely caused Junior crash

(AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)

(AP) -- A pilot's inability to maintain proper airspeed and the flight crew's decision to continue an unstable approach and landing likely caused the crash of a small plane carrying race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family in 2019, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report released Wednesday.

The NTSB's final accident report points to actions by the pilot and co-pilot in the Aug. 15, 2019 plane crash at an airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Earnhardt was with wife Amy, 15-month-old daughter Isla and two pilots when their Cessna Citation Latitude crashed and caught fire. The NTSB said the three passengers suffered minor injuries.

NTSB investigators said part of the landing gear collapsed and a section of the right wing hit the runway as the plane bounced twice before touching down a third time with about 1,000 feet (300 meters) of paved surface remaining.

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