CBSN

Blown Tire Suspected In Musicians' Crash

Officials walk away on Saturday Sept. 20, 2008. from the scene of a Learjet crash that killed four people in West Columbia, S.C. 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. (AP Photo/Paul Brown, Pool)
AP Photo/Paul Brown, Pool
The medical director of the burn hospital where former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM are being treated says both men are expected to make full recoveries.

The musicians were critically injured in a South Carolina plane crash that killed four people late Friday.

Dr. Fred Mullins said Sunday morning that both men are being treated for second- and third-degree burns at a Georgia hospital.

Mullins says recovery from such burns can take as long as a year but notes the men had no other injuries.

Mullins says Barker was burned on his torso, and DJ AM (whose real name is Adam Goldstein) was burned on his hands and part of his head. The doctor says both men are still in critical but stable condition.

The Lear jet hurtled off the end of a runway at Columbia Metropolitan Airport just before midnight Friday 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.

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

Blown Tire Suspected

Federal officials said today that the doomed crew thought a tire on the plane blew as they started down the runway.

Hersman said that crew members told air traffic controllers they heard a tire burst and tried to abort the takeoff Friday night.

The conversation between the plane's crew and the air traffic controllers is captured on a cockpit voice recorder that was recovered from the wreckage, Hersman said.

She said the weather was clear when the plane took off, but said no factors had been ruled out.

The plane was headed for Van Nuys, California. It is owned by Global Exec Aviation, a California-based charter company, and was certified to operate last year, National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman said. The company said it was working with investigators to determine the cause of the crash.

A longtime friend of the co-pilot said Bland flew anti-smuggling missions 20 years for the U.S. Customs Service and also flew missions for California's Santa Ana Police Department and the U.S. Border Patrol.

"He was such an experienced pilot, it had to be something beyond their control," said Tim Ferrill, a Huntington Beach, California, pilot. "He was an absolutely meticulous pilot, very thorough and not a risk-taker at all."

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.

Fans Hold Vigil

Some fans gathered Saturday at the burn center's waiting room to show support for Barker, including Joseph Morales, who has a tattoo on his calf of the cover of the band's fourth album, "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket."

"They've been my favorite band since I was in fifth grade, and I'm 20 now," Morales told The Augusta Chronicle. "I just hope he gets better."

One witness said he was driving when a fireball streaked across the highway about 600 feet ahead of him. William Owens said he approached to see the two survivors frantically trying to remove their burning clothes.

"I noticed two guys who were on fire and it looked like a dance: They didn't know what to do," said Owens, a 60-year-old delivery van driver.

Goldstein had stripped off his own shirt and was helping Barker strip naked, said Owens, who was able to identify the men Saturday night because of news reports that showed Barker's extensive tattoos.

Owens said Goldstein told him four other people were on board the jet, but the flames were too intense to get close.

"'Oh my God' was all they were saying," Owens said of Barker and Goldstein. "They stood there and it's like - didn't know what to do. None of us did."

Barker and Goldstein had performed together under the name TRVSDJ-AM at a free concert in Columbia on Friday night. The show, which included performances by former Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell and singer Gavin DeGraw, drew about 10,000 people to a neighborhood near the University of South Carolina.

On Saturday afternoon, several people gathered at the concert site.

"I hope to God things turn out OK and he gets better. He's a real good guy," said Dustin Haycraft, 23, of Columbia, who sports two tattoos modeled on T-shirts the musician designed.

Barker, 32, was one of the more colorful members of the multiplatinum-selling punk rock band Blink-182, whose biggest album was 1999's CD "Enema of the State" and sold more than 5 million copies in the United States alone.

After Blink-182 disbanded in 2005, Barker went on to form the rock band (+44) - pronounced "plus forty-four." He also starred in the MTV reality series "Meet the Barkers" with his then-wife, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler. The show documented the former couple's lavish wedding and home life. Their later split, reconciliation and subsequent breakup made them tabloid favorites.

Goldstein, 35, is a popular DJ for hire who at one time was engaged to Nicole Richie and dated singer/actress Mandy Moore. While he became a gossip favorite for his romances, he draws respect from music aficionados for his DJ skills.