COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Despite several surgeries for burns over his torso and lower body, former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker is trying to stay positive after a South Carolina plane crash that killed four, including two close friends, a spokesman for the star’s clothing company said Tuesday.
“If you make it out of a crash of that magnitude, somebody’s looking out for you,” said Bill Nosal, Barker’s friend and spokesman for Famous Stars and Straps, a Los Angeles-based clothing and accessory line created by the musician. “He’s trying to stay upbeat.”
Barker and celebrity disc jockey DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, survived the Friday night Learjet crash at the main airport in Columbia, S.C., with second- and third-degree burns. One of their doctors at a Georgia burn hospital said he expects them to fully recover.
Pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills, Calif., and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, Calif., died of smoke inhalation and burns within minutes of the crash into an embankment about a quarter-mile from the end of the airport’s runway. A South Carolina coroner has said Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City, Calif.; and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles, close friends of the musicians, died on impact.
Baker was an assistant to Barker and “was like extended family,” Nosal said. Still was working as a security guard for the musician, who Nosal said didn’t always travel with one. They were on a weekend trip to perform for about 10,000 people in a neighborhood near the University of South Carolina.
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.”
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board have not said what caused the crash but did say a cockpit voice recorder revealed that crew members thought a tire blew and tried to abort the takeoff but couldn’t stop the plane. The Learjet shot off the end of the runway, ripped through a fence and crossed a highway before coming to rest, engulfed in flames.
NTSB member Debbie Hersman has said pieces of tire were recovered from the runway. Goodyear Tire ‘ Rubber Co., which made the tires, has said it is cooperating with the investigation.
On Tuesday, National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said investigators were collecting evidence from the road crossed before the plane slammed into an embankment. Investigators expected to return to Washington on Thursday.
The jet, which was headed for Van Nuys, Calif., is owned by Global Exec Aviation and was certified to operate last year. Officials for the California-based charter company have said they are cooperating with investigators.