Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ex-lovers of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie fight for life after horror plane crash leaves four dead

Former Blink-182 drummer and one-time boyfriend of Paris Hilton, Travis Barker is in a critical condition after a fatal plane crash in South Carolina.

The musician and celebrity disc jockey Adam 'DJ AM' Goldstein were riding in a Learjet private plane when it crashed shortly after departing just before midnight on Friday night.

Four people have been killed in the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed.

Goldstein, ex-fiance of Hilton's best friend Nicole Richie, was also critically injured in the accident and is in an Augusta, Georgia burns unit.

Beth Frits, spokesperson for the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, said: 'Both Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein are in critical but stable condition.

'Goldstein was airlifted here and Barker was brought by ground transportation. So they arrived separately. They have extensive burns.'

Barker's personal assistant Chris Baker, 29, of California, was killed, Lexington County Coroner Harry Harman confirmed.

Amongst the four killed was another male passenger, the pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, and co-pilot James Bland, 52.

An FAA spokesperson said air traffic control saw sparks coming off the plane as it drove along the runway.

The plane went off the runway and crashed onto a nearby road.

Airport director Mike Flack said the jet reportedly hit the fence during take-off, pieces of the plane broke off and the fuselage caught fire.

According to Lynne Douglas, a spokeswoman for the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, both Barker and Goldstein got out of the plane themselves before emergency services arrived.

The plane was bound for Van Nuys, California after Barker and Goldstein had performed at a college gig in Columbia, South Carolina earlier that night with former Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell and musician Gavin DeGraw.

Representatives for DeGraw and Farrell said their client were not onboard the plane.

Eyewitness William Owens told local TV channel WIS-TV he was driving down Highway 302 when he said he saw a fireball go across the road.

'I didn't know what I had seen - it was maybe 800 feet in front of me, but as I approached it closer though, I made out a fire. By then I was able to see the tail of the jet and I recognised it as a jet.

'It's in flames and the fuel is running across the road and I had to cross the fuel to get to the two guys that seemed to have been dumped on the highway.

'We turned to the jet to try and see if there was anything we could do, but immediately, there was nothing anyone could do.'

Columbia Mayor Bob Coble said: 'It's absolutely terrible and tragic.'

After leaving Blink-182, Barker formed another band +44 and starred alongside his ex-wife Shanna Moakler in a MTV reality show Meet The Barkers.

The couple, who divorced last year, have two young children together.

Goldstein dated Lionel Richie's daughter for several years and proposed to her on her birthday in 2004.

The couple called off their engagement in 2007 and Richie has since had a baby with Good Charlotte rocker Joel Madden.