NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick is recovering at home following the accident
in which the plane they were flying in ran off the end of the runway during a landing at Key West International Airport on Monday evening.
Hendrick suffered several broken ribs and and also broke his clavicle (shoulder) in the accident, while his wife Linda was treated for minor cuts and bruises. The two pilots were evaluated at the local hospital, Lower Keys Medical Center, and released with no injuries.
The accident happened at 7.45pm as the Gulfstream 150 registered to Hendrick's Sprint Cup champion race driver Jimmie Johnson made its final approach into Key West. The pilot and co-pilot radioed that the aircraft had no brakes, and the plane ran off the end of the 4800ft runway and then went 100ft into a new 600ft unpaved run-off safety area before coming to a stop.
"I'm so thankful it turned out the way it did," said Johnson on Tuesday. "It certainly was a scary event, I can only imagine."
Johnson added that he's spoken to his team boss overnight: "We just touched base, and I know he's okay. It's just nice to hear his voice and to hear him say he's fine and okay," he said. "I'm thankful everything turned out well with the crash, and there weren't any major injuries down there. Certainly a crazy evening for everybody involved
Hendrick and his wife have since returned home to Charlotte in North Carolina to convalesce.
The accident will now be investigated by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to determine what exactly led to the suspected brake failure. The initial Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) report listed damage to the plane as "undetermined", but photos of the scene the plane largely intact with its nose resting on the ground about 20ft in front of a chain-link boundary fence. Some of its landing gear had been broken off on the unpaved run-off surface.
"There are a lot of really good, smart people working on getting answers to these questions so we can all understand what exactly took place," said Johnson. "As we all understand, there was a brake issue with the plane landing." While Johnson is the registered owner of the Gulfstream jet, it is operated out of Hendrick's facility in a joint operating agreement.
The crash comes just two weeks after the seventh anniversary of a fatal plane crash in 2004 that claimed the lives of Hendrick's son Ricky, Rick's brother and team president John, John's twin daughters Kimberly and Jennifer, and the team's general manager Jeff Turner and chief engine builder Randy Dolton.
Ten people were killed in total and there were no survivors, after the group's plane crashed in fog into Bull Mountain while flying to a race at Martinsville in Virginia. The NTSB report blamed pilot error, for failing to execute the proper instrument approach for the conditions to confirm the plane's precise location during the approach to Blue Ridge Airport.