Dashboard video shows fiery wreckage of plane crash - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Dashboard video shows fiery wreckage of plane crash

In this Sept. 7, 2008 file photo, DJ AM and musician Travis Barker pose backstage at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards held at Paramount Pictures Studio Lot in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file) In this Sept. 7, 2008 file photo, DJ AM and musician Travis Barker pose backstage at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards held at Paramount Pictures Studio Lot in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Dashcam footage of the first responders in Friday night's fiery plane crash at Columbia Metropolitan Airport has just been released to the media.

On the tape, you can hear first responders and K9 units as they drive up on the scene.

One of the officers says, "I've got two on the ground with burns over here sittin' on the sidewalk."

The officer calls for paramedics to help the two survivors who are severely burned.

Moments later the EMS crew arrives.

The cause of the crash remains unknown, but federal officials say the doomed crew of the Learjet thought a tire on the plane blew as they started down the runway.

Four people on board the plane died in the crash. Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein (DJ AM) survived.

National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman said Sunday that crew members told air traffic controllers they heard a tire burst and tried to abort the takeoff Friday night.

The cockpit voice recorder that was recovered Saturday is bringing new insight into what may have caused the crash. Officials weren't certain the data on the recorder would yield any big clues into what may have happened.

"As you know, there was a serious post-crash fire that occurred after the accident," Hersman said. "So, we are not certain whether or not there is any usable information on the cockpit voice recorder. We will have to wait until we get it into our lab in Washington to audition it and find out."

However, NSTB officials say the recordings are helping them piece together the moments before the crash.

"The crew attempted to reject the takeoff, but was unable to stop the aircraft before it departed the runway," Hersman said.

The crew had a routine start-up, but when they got to the end of the runway there was trouble.

Another set of tapes from the control tower gives even more insight.

"They were clear for take off on runway 11. As they began, air traffic control noticed sparks coming from the aircraft," Hersman said.

Now the bigger picture -- investigators found a piece of tire 2,800 feet down the 8,600 foot runway.

Investigators are also gathering information about the pilots and what they were doing in the days leading up to the crash. The investigators also found a bag of documents on board that they're hoping will also provide more clues about what happened.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday officials aren't planning to hold further news conferences on the crash.

The Learjet 60 flew to Columbia from Teterboro, New Jersey. The aviation web site "Flight Aware" says the plane had been flown the day before on what appears to have been a 47 minute test flight from, and back to, the Teterboro Airport.

The web site says six days earlier, that plane was en-route to Tulsa when it was diverted back to Teterboro.

A discussion thread quotes a pilot said to be associated with that plane who says it had been in for maintenance, but for issues with something called "bleed air," which is defined as compressed air taken from within the engine, and often used to pressurize the plane's cabin or de-ice parts of the plane.     

That pilot says it appears unlikely the bleed air problem could have been related to the accident.

As for Barker and Goldstein, doctors at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta said they were "doing fine" after the crash.

Dr. Fred Mullins, director of the burn center, painted a good outcome for Barker and Goldstein.

"I think these gentlemen are going to have a full recovery," Mullins said.

Mullins said Barker had burns on his torso and lower body while Goldstein is suffering from burns on his head and one of his arms. He said both men were suffering second- to third-degree burns. He would not say what percentage of their bodies were burned.

Dr. Claus Brandigi also gave a good report on the pair's condition.

"They're both right where they ought to be," Brandigi said.

According to the doctors, despite their burns, both men did not suffer any sort of other injuries in the crash.

Barker and Goldstein remain in critical, but stable condition. Doctors say both men should be able to return to performing after they have healed from their burns in a year.

National Transportation Safety Board officials say around 11:53pm Friday, the plane carrying Barker and Goldstein took off heading to Van Nuys, California.

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.

Harman says Sarah Lemmon and James Bland died from smoke and fume inhalation and thermal injuries.

The coroner says Chris Baker died from a cervical neck fracture caused by blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Charles Still died from acute subdural hematoma caused by blunt force trauma to the head.

Still's mother said she talked to him just shortly before the crash Friday evening.

"And I said, 'Why are you coming back, tonight?' And he said, 'These guys want to come back' and I said, 'Call me when you get in.' And we said I said 'I love you' and he did the same. And that was the last I heard from him," Still's mother said.

So far, only one witness to the crash has come forward to recall what he saw Friday night.

William Owens says he was driving down Highway 302 when he said he saw a fireball go across the road.

"I didn't know what I had seen -- it was maybe 800 feet in front of me, 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 then described what he saw as he tried to make it to the wreckage.

"It's in flames and the fuel is running across the road and I had to cross the fuel to get to the two guys that seemed to have been dumped on the highway," Owens said.

Owens says he stopped his car to find Goldstein and Barker standing in the middle of the street.  He says Barker's pants were on fire and he was trying to extinguish himself. He then asked the men if there was anyone else on board the plane and they said four more were with them. He says he and Goldstein tried to walk toward the plane.

"We turned to the jet to try and see if there was anything we could do, but immediately, there was nothing anyone could do," Owens said. "I felt ill or sick to think that these lives were snuffed out at that point."

Barker and Goldstein were in Columbia for a free concert put on by T-Mobile in Five Points Friday night. The other two performers who were at the concert, Gavin DeGraw and Perry Farrell, were not on the plane.

Columbia Metropolitan Airport reopened late Saturday evening after being closed for most of the day while crash investigators tried to piece together what happened.

Highway 302 will be closed until Wednesday while the investigation continues.

Reported by Jennifer Wilson, Kara GormleyJordan Sandler and Jack Kuenzie

Posted by Jeremy Turnage

Copyright 2008 Raycom Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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