US safety agencies investigate plane crash involving racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy and child escaped a plane crash on Thursday after their private jet ran off a runway and caught fire in Tennessee, local media reported.
The plane was carrying retired race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr (above, in 2017), his wife and daughter.
The plane was carrying retired race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr (above, in 2017), his wife and daughter.PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Two United States safety agencies are investigating the crash of a small plane in Tennessee on Thursday (Aug 15) that was carrying retired racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, his wife and daughter, officials said.

Earnhardt's sister Kelley said on Twitter that the two pilots of the Cessna Citation and the three passengers were safe and being taken to a hospital for observation.

There were no serious injuries, according to officials in Tennessee cited by media.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane rolled off the end of a runway at Elizabethton Municipal Airport at 3.40pm (4.40am on Friday, Singapore time) and caught fire.

The National Transportation Safety Board was also investigating.

WJHL-TV reported that Earnhardt was taken to the Johnson City Medical Centre with minor injuries including cuts and abrasions.

Footage showed a fire and severe damage to the plane.

A nearby highway and the airport were closed after the crash.

Earnhardt, who was Nascar's long-time biggest star, gave up full-time racing after the 2017 season. He now broadcasts Nascar races for NBC Sports.