Saturday, September 20, 2008

Global Exec Aviation Learjet 60 crash at Columbia, SC

Lear 60 accident at CAEA chartered Learjet 60 operated by Global Exec Aviation, LLC, has crashed at Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), West Columbia, South Carolina. Four of the six people on board, including both crew members, were killed in the accident. Two more passengers were seriously injured. The aircraft was completely destroyed.

According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the aircraft (registration N999LJ) crashed on take-off at 11:53 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 19, 2008. News reports say that the aircraft overran Runway 11 at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, crossed the airport perimeter and came to rest on an embankment along Highway 302. At the time of the accident, the aircraft was departing Columbia for Van Nuys, CA. An airport official who was quoted by local news website said that the weather was "cool, dry and clear" when the accident occurred.

All six people who were on board have been identified. A news article about the accident published by television station WIS News 10 reports:
Lexington County Coroner Harry Harman identified all four victims from California. Harman says the pilot, Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills, co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles all perished in the crash.

The two survivors, 32-year-old Travis Barker, former drummer of the band Blink-182, and 35-year-old Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM, are currently at the Augusta Burn Center.
The airport has been temporarily closed to enable the investigation team to examine evidence on the runway.

WIS News 10 has published a collection of still photos of the crash site. has made an online condolences book available.

Condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of the pilots and passengers who perished in this accident. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to the two men who were injured.

UPDATE Sep. 22, 2008: Yesterday Debbie Hersman, an NTSB official, indicated that there was evidence that a tire had burst during the takeoff roll of the Learjet 60 that crashed at Columbia, SC. At a meeting with the press, Hersman said that, based on a preliminary review of the aircraft's Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), "The crew reacted to a sound that was consistent with a tire blowout," and apparently initiated a rejected takeoff. Tire debris was found on the runway, about 2,800 ft. past the point where the aircraft had begun its takeoff roll. The runway is approximately 8,600 ft. long.

Today the Associated Press, quoting the chief deputy coroner for Lexington County, reported that the two crew members died from smoke inhalation and burns. Both "were burned on their entire bodies and died within minutes" of the crash. The two passengers who perished are believed to have died on impact, since no evidence of smoke was found in their lungs.

The two surviving passengers suffered second- and third-degree burns, but are expected to recover fully.

[Photo Source]