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DATE News (chronologically)
11/28/11
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Hendrick says seat came loose in plane crash
Rick Hendrick’s seat came loose during the Oct. 31 plane accident in which he suffered four broken ribs and a broken shoulder when a Hendrick Motorsports plane lost its brakes and skidded off the runway in Key West, Hendrick said Monday.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Gulfstream G150 lost its brakes on landing. It crossed a 600-foot overrun, impacted the far side of a ditch, crossed a dirt road, cleared another ditch and came to a stop 820 feet from the departure end of the runway. Hendrick’s wife, Linda, suffered some bruises to her leg while Rick Hendrick spent a week in a North Carolina hospital.

Hendrick said Monday that he spent three weeks sleeping in a chair and still has daily therapy sessions, but is doing better.

“My belt was on, and something came loose in the seat itself,” Hendrick said during a teleconference Monday. “I hit the bulkhead and my wife. My chest and head went into the seat in front of me and that’s where I got my ribs [broke] and I had a concussion.

“We were very fortunate. We’re glad that it wasn’t any worse than it was. We’re healing up. We don’t have any of the answers yet on exactly what happened there, but there’s a lot of smart people involved and we’ll get that figured out pretty soon, I hope.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing to investigate the incident. The plane was co-owned by Hendrick Motorsports and five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who used the plane for transportation to and from the race track. Hendrick Motorsports operated and maintained the plane.

“You don’t remember everything exactly how it happened. … Just for a second or two, that’s about all you’ve got [that] you sense something was wrong,” Hendrick said. “But then it happened so quick, it goes so fast that you don’t have time to hardly react.”

The team owner did not attend any of the final three races of the season and will not attend the Sprint Cup postseason awards banquet Friday in Las Vegas. He said he appreciates all the cards and letters sent by the racing community.

“Trying to sleep and move and getting therapy takes most of the day,” he said. “My wife is doing good. She busted her leg up, but I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I don’t bounce back quite as quick.

“We’re doing good. I’m just going to probably take it easy for a few more weeks and continue to do my therapy. I am able to sleep now at night, where I slept in a chair for three weeks. That’s no fun.” scenedaily.com

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