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Musicians in jet crash expected to recover

Former Blink-182 drummer and DJ AM were still critical after the fatal wreck, but doctors are optimistic.

September 22, 2008|Ari B. Bloomekatz | Times Staff Writer

Former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and disc jockey Adam Goldstein remained in critical condition Sunday after a fiery crash that killed four people when their Learjet skidded off a runway in South Carolina.

The four who died were from Southern California, including the plane's two pilots, who thought a tire had blown out just before the crash.

Barker and Goldstein's doctors said Sunday that both Los Angeles natives were expected to fully recover from second- and third-degree burns sustained in the wreck.

Debbie Hersman, spokeswoman and board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said investigators recovered the cockpit's voice recorder and spent hours dissecting the relevant minutes of conversation between the Learjet's pilots.

"The crew reacted to a sound consistent with a tire blowout," Hersman said. "The crew attempted to reject the takeoff, but they were unable to stop the aircraft before it departed the runway."

The Learjet crashed shortly before midnight Friday in Columbia, killing Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles, both members of Barker's entourage. Also killed were pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, according to the Lexington County coroner's office.

The small plane, en route to Van Nuys, was taking off from Columbia Metropolitan Airport when air traffic controllers saw sparks.

The jet eventually veered off the end of the runway, plowed through a perimeter fence and crossed a roadway before slamming into a berm, where it became engulfed in flames, transportation safety board officials said.

Hersman said investigators worked for 12 hours to collect evidence along the airport's 8,600-foot-long runway, finding the craft's main landing gear and a piece of rubber from a tire, among other debris.

Barker, 32, played drums in the platinum-selling band and also starred in his own MTV reality show. Goldstein, 35, owns the Hollywood hot spot LAX. Over the weekend, family members for Barker and Goldstein released a shared statement: "Both Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein (DJ AM) are currently being treated for second- and third-degree burns. Barker suffered from burns on his torso and lower body and Goldstein suffered from burns on his arm and a portion of his head."

"Since both Barker and Goldstein are in overall good health and didn't suffer from any other crash-related complications," the statement said, "a full recovery is expected."

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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