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Saturday, September 20, 2008

South Carolina Learjet Crash

The plane was carrying six people and was leaving shortly before midnight on Friday when air traffic controllers reported seeing sparks, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen on Saturday.

Debbie Hersman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, says the plane went off the end of the runway, crashed through antennas and a fence and careened into an embankment across a five-lane highway, where it was engulfed in flames.

The Lexington County Deputy Coroner had identified the dead: pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim, Calif.; her copilot, James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, Calif.; Barker's assistant, Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City, Calif., and Barker's security guard, Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles.

Beth Frits, spokeswoman at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga., said Barker and DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, arrived at the hospital early Saturday, with "extensive burns."

"Goldstein was airlifted here, and Barker was brought by ground transportation. So they arrived separately," Frits told People magazine.

"Our heart pours out. We're hoping he recovers. The family is rallying around him and saying our prayers," Gail Moakler told the magazine. Her daughter, Shanna, was once married to Barker. The couple have a son and

daughter. The family had also starred in an MTV reality series Meet the Barkers.

Moakler says her daughter has rushed to Barker's side: "Shanna spoke to Travis last night. He was defiant after the accident and didn't want to be lifted in a helicopter ... they had to knock him out."

"The whole thing is crazy," said Benjamin Long, who is married to Goldstein's sister, Lara. "We're thankful that he made it. And we feel horrible about those who didn't. It's just awful."

William Owens told WIS-TV he was driving down the highway when he saw a fireball.

"I didn't know what I had seen ... but as I approached it closer though, I made out a fire. By then I was able to see the tail of the jet and I recognized it as a jet," Owens said.

Owens said he saw two men were running around and pulling off clothing to put out the flames.

Barker, an ex-drummer with Blink 182, and Goldstein, perform together as TRVSDJ-AM. They had played at a free outdoor concert on Friday night in the student area of Columbia, S.C.

They had performed alongside Perry Farrell, the former lead singer of Jane's Addiction, as well as singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw.

"It's absolutely terrible and tragic," Columbia Mayor Bob Coble said.

Lynne Douglas, spokesperson for the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, says the weather was calm and clear when the jet took off, headed to Van Nuys, Calif.

Douglas says the Learjet was just a year old and had been chartered from Global Executive Aviation in Long Beach, Calif.

The airport is expected to reopen later on Saturday, she said.
Source: The Associated Press
Posted: 09/20/08 9:21AM
Filed Under: World

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