Earnhardt Jr. discharged from hospital after plane crash, taking time off to be with family

Authorties at the scene of a plane crash in Tennessee. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family were on board. (CBS News)
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ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WCNC) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take the weekend off from broadcasting to be with his wife and daughter after the three were in a crash landing near the Elizabeth Municipal Airport in Carter County, Tennessee Thursday.

"Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation," Kelley Earnhardt, the sister of the former NASCAR driver and current television personality, tweeted after the crash.

An NBC Sports spokesperson confirms Earnhardt and his family have been discharged from the hospital and says he plans to take this weekend off to be with family.

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The FAA confirmed five people were aboard the Cessna Citation aircraft when it crashed. The occupants are believed to have been the Earnhardt family and two pilots.

"A Cessna Citation rolled off the end of Runway 24 and caught fire after landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee at 3:40 p.m. today. Preliminary indication is that two pilots and three passengers were aboard," the FAA said in a released statement. "The FAA will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine probable cause of the accident."

FAA records show the Cessna Citation was built in 2015 and is registered to Mooresville, North Carolina.

NASCAR is hosting races in nearby Bristol, Tennessee this weekend. Earnhardt was scheduled to appear as a commentary on NBC Sports.

Through the end of his full-time career in 2017, Earnhardt had 26 career victories, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500s. His 26 victories tie him for 29th on NASCAR’s all-time race winners list.

Earnhardt is a third generation NASCAR driver. He currently owns and operates JR Motorsports, based out of Mooresville, North Carolina.

Earlier this year, Earnhardt was inducted in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Following the plane crash, emergency personnel worked to extinguish the fire. The remains of the aircraft came to rest on nearby Highway 91. The road is expected to be closed for more than a day while officials investigate.

Earnhardt Jr. is not the first NASCAR legend to be involved in a plane crash.

Alan Kulwicki was killed, along with three others, in a plane crash near Blountville, Tennessee, on April 1, 1993, while on approach to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Later that same year, another NASCAR driver, Davey Allison was killed in a helicopter crash while landing his helicopter at Talladega Superspeedway.

In 2004, a plane owned by Hendrick Motorsports crashed on it's way to the race track in Martinsville, Virginia, killing ten people including Hendrick family members and executives. Earnhardt Jr. raced for Hendrick motorsports for the final decade of his career.

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