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Low Pressure Tires to Blame for Crash Involving DJ AM

In September 2008, a Learjet carrying Blink 182′s Travis Barker and the late DJ AM, crashed on a South Carolina runway, wounding the two artists and leaving four others dead. Now, almost 18 months later, a federal safety investigation has revealed that under-inflated tires were the major cause of the deadly crash.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday, April 6, that a combination low-pressure tires, a design flaw in the Learjet 60, and the pilot’s decision to abort takeoff at speeds of 150 mph were to blame. Investigators reported that during takeoff, all four of the planes tires exploded within seconds of each other, destroying the brakes, and making it impossible to stop the plane safely. The Learjet in question, was originally designed in 1966, and had not been updated to meet modern safety requirements.

Investigators also reported to the National Transportation Safety Board, that most air charters are unaware of how quickly the tires in business jets can lose pressure.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman explained that the accident could have been prevented with better safety measures. “This accident didn’t have to happen,” Hersman said. “There are no small maintenance items because every time a plane takes off lives are on the line.”

Family members of Travis Barker’s bodyguard, Charles Monroe Still Jr, and his assistant, Chris Baker, who both died in the crash, have made legal settlements with the tire and aviation companies involved. DJ AM passed away one year after the crash, from a drug overdose, and his estate settled a $20 million lawsuit in January, based on claims that his injuries from the crash forced the former addict to seek relief through drugs.

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