Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is speaking out for the first time since he and his family walked away from a plane crash last week near Bristol, Tennessee,

The former NASCAR star, who now works as an analyst for NBC Sports, released a statement on Twitter on Monday, expressing his appreciation for all the messages his wife, Amy, daughter Isla, 1, and dog Gus have received the last few days.

“Amy and I want to thank everyone who has lifted us up with phone calls, messages and prayer since last Thursday,” he wrote. “We are truly blessed that all on board escaped with no serious injuries, including our daughter, our two pilots and our dog Gus.

“With respect to the investigation, we will not be speculating or discussing the cause of the accident. I am thankful for the quick response of my pilots, local law enforcement, emergency personnel and hospital staff.”

Earnhardt, 44, also said he’s thankful people are letting him and his family recover without any intrusion from the public.

“Lastly, Amy and I continue to be very appreciative of the privacy extended to us to process everything. It has been important to do that together and on our own time,” he concluded.

Two pilots also survived. The plane crashed in Tennessee, but has since been brought to Griffin, Georgia, where the National Transportation Safety Board is looking at the aircraft.

"It did not have a flight data recorder. However, there were avionics on board that recorded some flight data that's going to be very useful to us,” said NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator Ralph Hicks.

Earnhardt is the son of late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr., who died in a car crash while racing at the Daytona 500 in February 2001.