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Smoke, fire killed crew in AM, Barker jet

September 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A South Carolina coroner says a pilot and co-pilot killed in a Learjet crash died from smoke inhalation and burns, and two passengers were killed by impact-related injuries. The nearly new Lear 60 jet hit boundary lights, antennas -- caught fire and skidded across a highway.

Amazingly former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and celebrity disc jockey DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, were thrown clear.

A police cruiser got video and sound when they arrived on the scene.

Barker's personal assistant Christopher Baker, 29, of Studio City died in the wreckage from impact injuries. Charles Still, 25, a security guard for the musician also died in the crash.

The coroner says the pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad both died of smoke inhalation and burns.

The NTSB says it saw pieces of blown tire about a third of the way down the runway.

"The first piece of tire was identified 2,800 feet down this 8,600 foot runway," said Debbie Hersman, NTSB.

Hersman says that the tires manufacturer Goodyear is now assisting the investigators.

Charter pilots train constantly for these kind of emergencies.

The Lear was accelerating to V1, the speed to which it can lift off normally when the tire blew. At that critical moment the crew must decide to abort or continue the takeoff.

"If she reached V1, and aborted then she probably didn't have enough room to stop the airplane. If she couldn't control it then she did the right thing. But my own feeling is at V1, I would of tried to get it up in the air," said Lear veteran, Clay Barnett. "You just don't know when you are sitting in that seat and you've only got between the time of 93, which is minimum control of flight speed and V1 -- just a split second."

Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein had just performed at a college rock concert and were flying back to Van Nuys when the accident happened.

Fans have gathered in front of the burn center in Augusta, Georgia where they are being treated.

 

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