2008 South Carolina Learjet 60 crash
The remains of N99LJ
|Date||September 19, 2008|
|Summary||Rejected takeoff (maintenance error compounded by pilot error)|
|Site||2860 Edmund Highway
|Aircraft type||Learjet 60|
|Flight origin||Columbia Metropolitan Airport|
|Destination||Van Nuys, California|
The 2008 South Carolina Learjet 60 crash occurred just before midnight on September 19, 2008, when a Learjet 60 crashed while taking off from Columbia Metropolitan Airport in South Carolina. The weather at the time was cool, dry, and clear. The plane hit runway lights and crashed through the boundary fence, crossing South Carolina Highway 302 (SC 302/Edmund Highway/Airport Boulevard), and coming to rest on an embankment by the side of the highway. No one on the ground was hurt, but four of the six people on the plane (including both pilots) died in the crash, with the other two, Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein, suffering severe burns. The plane was a charter flight taking people who had participated at a free concert in Five Points earlier that night to Van Nuys, California.
Victims and survivors
The two survivors of this crash were musicians Travis Barker and Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein. They were the only two to escape the plane and were able to inform first responders that there were four others on the plane. Barker suffered second and third degree burns covering approximately 1/3 of his body.
Pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills, California and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, California both died in the crash. Also dead from the crash were Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City, California, and a security guard, Charles "Che" Still, 25, of Los Angeles.
The crash site was left intact until the NTSB could perform its initial survey. As a result, runway 11/29 of the Columbia Metropolitan Airport was closed until the morning of September 21. Because the other airport runway, runway 5/23 was also closed for resurfacing, the airport was closed to service. Smaller aircraft were diverted to Columbia Owens Downtown Airport, while scheduled airline service was canceled for the 20th, affecting approximately 400 passengers.
In addition to the impact to the airport, because of time needed to repair fire damage and perform cleanup, the stretch of SC 302 where the plane came to rest was closed until 6 a.m. on September 25.
The plane did not carry a flight data recorder, but during the investigation, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was found. In the recording, the pilot indicates she is reacting to the sound of an apparent tire blow-out and attempting a rejected takeoff. Pieces of a tire were found at the crash site.
Both surviving passengers, as well as the estates of the two deceased, filed lawsuits claiming damages from various parties including Learjet, tire manufacturer Goodyear, and, in at least one case (Goldstein's), against the insurance companies of the dead pilots, not their estates.
Goldstein died in his New York City apartment on August 28, 2009 of a drug overdose, a combination of cocaine and prescription drugs given to him for aftereffects of the plane crash.
The NTSB published its report into the accident on July 16, 2010. It concluded that the cause of the accident was two-fold: (1) the tires were severely under-inflated, which resulted in several of them blowing-out during the take-off roll; (2) the captain aborted the take-off at high speed, 144 knots (267 km/h). Normal operating procedure for the Learjet 60 is to abort take-off above 80 knots (150 km/h) only for serious problems that make the aircraft uncontrollable, and never to abort take-off above the "go/no-go" decision speed V1 (which for this particular take-off was 136 knots (252 km/h)). The co-pilot could be heard on the CVR saying the appropriate "go go go".
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