- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2008

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) | Hours after performing for thousands of South Carolina college students, former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and celebrity DJ AM were critically injured in a fiery Learjet crash that killed four people, authorities said Saturday.

Officials said the plane carrying six people was departing shortly before midnight Friday when air traffic controllers reporting seeing sparks. The plane hurtled off the end of a runway and crashed through antennas and a fence. It came to rest on an embankment across a five-lane highway and was engulfed in flames, said Debbie Hersman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Mr. Barker and DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, were in critical condition at a burn center in Augusta, Ga., about 75 miles southwest of Columbia, hospital spokeswoman Beth Frits said.

Two other passengers - Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City, Calif., and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles - died, as did pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills, Calif., and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, according to the county coroner. Mr. Baker was an assistant to Mr. Barker and Mr. Still was a security guard for the musician.

The plane was headed for Van Nuys, Calif. It is owned by Global Exec Aviation, a California-based charter company, and was certified to operate last year, Ms. Hersman said. The company said it had no immediate comment.

At the crash site Saturday, the air was still heavy with the odor of jet fuel. A trail of black soot led off a runway. The nose of the aircraft was gone and the roof was missing from two-thirds of the charred plane.

“It’s absolutely terrible and tragic,” Columbia Mayor Bob Coble said.

Mr. Barker and Mr. Goldstein had performed together under the name TRVSDJ-AM at a free concert in Columbia on Friday night. Event sponsor T-Mobile said their hourlong set ended at about 7:15 p.m.

The show, which included performances by former Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell and singer Gavin DeGraw, drew 10,000 people into the streets of Five Points, the neighborhood near the University of South Carolina, Mr. Coble said.

Peter Kastis, Mr. Farrell’s manager, said he and his client didn’t find out about the crash until they arrived at the airport Saturday morning to find it closed.

“I just hugged them hello less than 24 hours ago. I wish I could hug them now,” Mr. Kastis said.

One concertgoer said TRVSDJ-AM’s performance was unique and different.

“It was literally one of the best shows I’ve ever seen,” said Brett Flashnick, a freelance photographer who works for the Associated Press and attended the concert for a local newspaper.

Mr. Barker, 32, was one of the more colorful members of the multiplatinum-selling punk rock band Blink-182, whose biggest album was 1999’s “Enema of the State,” which sold more than 5 million copies in the United States.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide