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Looking at a Plane Crash from the Inside

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Richland Twp., MIAdam Goldstein remembers taking his shoes off and falling asleep before the Lear jet he was traveling in taxied down a runway in September but never made it into the air. The plane crash killed the two members of the plane's crew and two friends. Only Goldstein, and friend Travis Barker survived the airplane crash, and only because they got out when they could. In some plane crashes, victims don't get that chance.

Lear JetGoldstein is known as 'DJ AM', a rapper who has just returned to performing after surviving the plane crash, and recovering from his injuries. A popular and busy entertainer, flying between gigs is a regular event for Goldstein, akin to the rest of us hopping in a car and driving to work.

"When the plane was on the runway I took my shoes off and fell asleep," Goldstein tells People Magazine. "The next thing I remember is us crashing into something. I woke up to Travis screaming and the plane engulfed in flames. I remember thinking it was like Miami Vice, where a car is on fire and you run before the gas tank explodes.

"(There was) fire everywhere. I tried to cover my face as I jumped through a fireball. As soon as I hit the ground, I remembered, 'Stop, drop and roll.' So I started rolling."

He credits that mantra, learned as a boy, for saving his life. He tells People that after Travis jerked open the door, he followed his friend out of the plane by sliding down a burning wing. He describes injuries that included the loss of his eyebrows, and layers of skin that were burned off of his face. He also told People Magazine that his forehead was gouged, and he had skin hanging off his arm.

The entertainer reveals that he has had 3 surgeries since the September 8th plane crash, together with various procedures to treat his second, and third-degree burns. "I can't believe I made it," he told People. "I'm just grateful."

The Learjet 60 was taking off from Columbia Metropolitan Airport in South Carolina September 8th when the pilot, who was killed, aborted the takeoff and the jet plowed into raised ground at the end of the runway, bursting into flames. It is suspected that a blown tire at some point during the takeoff attempt put the plane in some jeopardy, but it is unknown what caused the crash, or whether the brakes may have failed. Aviation protocol dictates that when a tire blows after the aircraft has reached a certain speed on the runway, it is generally safer to continue with the takeoff, than to abort. It is not known if the pilot experienced mechanical problems with the plane, or simply took too long to make a decision before the plane crashed.

There is little doubt that the Learjet 60 crash of September 8th became a bigger story given the celebrity of the two passengers (Travis Barker made his name as the rock drummer for Blink-182). Thankfully, Barker and Goldstein survived, but not all do…

A partial listing:

Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson lost their lives when their plane crashed into a cornfield in Iowa, in the midst of a storm in 1959. The coroner's report, available online, suggest the injuries suffered by the three passengers—including Holly—were horrific.

Patsy Cline perished in similar fashion after her small plane crashed, again in bad weather.

In 1977 three members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd perished in a plane crash. Jim Croce met a similar end when his small commercial plane went down, at the height of his career.

And few fans of Ricky Nelson will forget New Year's Day, 1986, when they awoke to the news that Nelson's plane had gone down after a New Year's Eve concert the night before. The famed singer and child TV star didn't survive.

Steve Fossett is yet another. The wreckage of his plane was recently found after authorities searched for over a year.

But plane crashes happen to the little guy, too. As recently as a few days ago, when sheriff's deputies found a single-engine Cessna flipped over near the Cedar Lake Seventh Day Adventist Academy Airport, in Richland Township Michigan on Saturday.
There were two men inside, hanging upside down. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, while the pilot was found to be in critical condition and was rushed to hospital.

Witnesses say just before the plane crash, the plane banked to the right upon takeoff, before striking the tops of several trees and landing in the back yard of a home about a half-mile from the airport.

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