Learjet Crew Died from Smoke, Burns


Sep. 22 2008, Published 8:02 a.m. ET

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Officials say the pilot and co-pilot killed in the Learjet crash in South Carolina that  critically injured Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM died from smoke inhalation and burns.  Two other passengers on board died on impact.

Barker and AM were taken to a Georgia burn hospital where they are being treated for second and third degree burns but they are expected to make a full recovery.

The pilot and co-pilot were burned on their entire bodies and died within minutes of the plane's crash into an embankment about a quarter of a mile from the end of the airport's runway, according to Brian Setree, chief deputy cororner for Lexington County.

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The two passengers, who were close friends of the musicians, died on impact and showed no signs of smoke in their lungs, Setree said.

On Monday, Travis Barker's ex-wife, Shanna Moakler, released the following statement:

"There are not enough words to express how thankful we are for the outpouring of love and support we have received during this difficult time.  We can only ask for prayers as we heal and mourn the loss of our dear friends who we considered part of our family.  Our lives will be changed forever."

travis barker

The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to determine what caused the crash.  However, a cockpit voice recorder reportedly revealed that crew members thought a tire blew and tried to abort the takeoff but couldn't stop the plane.

The Learjet 60 shot off the runway just before midnight on Friday, ripped through a fence and crossed a highway before coming to rest engulfed in flames.

Setree said it wasn't possible to determine if the crew members were conscious after the plane came to rest. A witness who came upon the scene moments after the crash said he discovered Barker and AM  in the street near the fiery wreck as they frantically tried to douse their burning clothes.

The jet, which was headed for Van Nuys, Calif., is owned by Global Exec Aviation, a California-based charter company, and was certified to operate last year.

NTSB member Debbie Hersman has said pieces of tire were recovered about 2,800 feet from where the plane started its takeoff down the 8,600-foot runway.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. manufactured the tires on the Learjet, the company said Monday.

''We have been contacted by the NTSB and will cooperate fully with its investigation,'' Goodyear spokesman Ed Markey said in a statement. ''Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this accident.''


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