By JIM DAVENPORT, Associated Press Writer
Officials said the plane carrying six people was departing shortly before midnight Friday when air traffic controllers reporting seeing sparks. The plane hurtled off the end of a runway and crashed through antennas and a fence. It came to rest a quarter-mile away on an embankment across a five-lane highway and was engulfed in flames, said Debbie Hersman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Barker and DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, were in critical but stable condition at a burn center in Augusta, Ga., on Saturday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Beth Frits said. Augusta is about 75 miles southwest of Columbia.
Two other passengers Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City, Calif., and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles died, as did pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills, Calif., and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, Calif., according to the county coroner. Baker was an assistant to Barker and Still was a security guard for the musician.
The plane was headed for Van Nuys, Calif. It is owned by Global Exec Aviation, a California-based charter company, and was certified to operate last year, Hersman said. The company expressed its condolences in a statement and said it was working with investigators to determine the cause of the crash.
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.
Hersman said officials recovered the cockpit voice recorder Saturday but had yet to analyze it or determine whether the recording was in good condition. She said the weather was clear when the plane took off, but said no factors had been ruled out.
"We're working as fast as we can to document all the evidence," Hersman said. "We have not yet found anything but we are looking at everything."
Barker and Goldstein had performed together under the name TRVSDJ-AM at a free concert in Columbia on Friday night. Event sponsor T-Mobile said their hourlong set ended at about 7:15 p.m.
The show, which included performances by former Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell and singer Gavin DeGraw, drew 10,000 people into the streets of Five Points, the neighborhood near the University of South Carolina, Coble said.
Peter Kastis, Farrell's manager, said he and Farrell didn't find out about the crash until they arrived at the airport Saturday morning to find it closed.
"I just hugged them hello less than 24 hours ago. I wish I could hug them now," Kastis said.
Columbia's airport stayed closed Saturday and spokeswoman Lynne Douglas said she was unsure when it would reopen.
A longtime friend of Bland, the co-pilot, said he flew anti-smuggling missions 20 years for the U.S. Customs Service and also flew missions for the Santa Ana Police Department and U.S. Border Patrol.
"He was such an experienced pilot, it had to be something beyond their control," said Tim Ferrill, a Huntington Beach, Calif., pilot. "He was an absolutely meticulous pilot, very thorough and not a risk-taker at all."
Bland was survived by his wife and teenage daughter, Ferrill said.
On Saturday afternoon, several people gathered where the musicians performed the night before. Some of Barker's fans said they felt drawn to the spot.punk rock bandEnema of the StateMeet the BarkersShanna MoaklerNicole RichieMandy Moorehouse bandMTV Video Music AwardsNew YorkThomas WatkinsLos Angeleshttp://www.djam/http://www.gavindegraw/