ELIZABETHTON, Tn. (WDBJ7) NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Junior is out of a hospital after a fiery jet crash that sent firefighters scrambling and closed a state highway.
Thursday afternoon, black smoke filled the northeast Tennessee sky after the Cessna jet that was set to carry Dale Earnhardt and his family from the Elizabethton Municipal Airport rolled off the end of the runway and burst into flames.
Earnhardt and his family were evacuated safely, along with a pilot, another passenger, and a family dog. After being pulled out of the plane, cell phone video from the scene shows paramedics evaluating Earnhardt.
"EMS personnel did put Dale on a cot and take him to the hospital. I think that was just a precaution," said Elizabethton Fire Department Chief Barry Carrier.
In a tweet, Earnhardt's sister Kelley said "Everyone is safe."
As of Thursday evening, there's no word on what caused the crash.
According to local officials, much of the 1,000 gallons of fuel the jet was carrying leaked and caught fire, draining under the highway. Firefighters battled the flames for hours, eventually extinguishing the fire.
But some hot spots were still left to burn. "Our best course of action right now is to let what we can't get to burn," said Chief Carrier.
Both the Elizabethton Municipal Airport and Tennessee Highway 91 remain closed because of the crash.
Local officials are now focused on cleanup, thankful everyone got out alive.
"You hear the saying all the time the Lord works in mysterious ways. And you just have to believe there was a reason that there were no cars coming through at that time," said Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander. "So we're really, really blessed and thankful for that."
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