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Sep 21, 2008

Former Blink-182 drummer, popular DJ survive plane crash that killed 4

The crash of a Learjet in South Carolina that killed four Southern Californians stunned rock music fans Saturday with news that the two badly burned survivors are former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and popular DJ Adam Goldstein, both of Los Angeles.

Barker, 32, who not only played drums in the platinum-selling band but also starred in his own MTV reality show, and Goldstein, 35, known as DJ AM and the owner of the Hollywood hot spot LAX, were in critical but stable condition Saturday at Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga., said hospital spokeswoman Beth Frits.

The fiery crash shortly before midnight Friday in Columbia, S.C, killed Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles, both members of Barker's entourage.

Also killed were pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, Calif., according to the Lexington County coroner's office.

Still's aunt said a crowd of friends gathered throughout the day Saturday at their Riverside house as word of her nephew's death spread. "There are guys crying just like ladies would cry," Vacie Thomas said.

The small plane, en route to Van Nuys, was taking off at Columbia Metropolitan Airport when air traffic controllers saw sparks. Officials described what happened next as a "high-speed overrun."

The jet veered off the end of the runway, plowed through a perimeter fence and then crossed a roadway before slamming into a berm, where it became engulfed in a "significant fire," said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

The flight took off several hours after Barker and Goldstein's show Friday, which included performances by former Jane's Addiction singer Perry Ferrell and singer Gavin DeGraw. It had drawn about 10,000 people into the streets of the Five Points neighborhood near the University of South Carolina, Columbia Mayor Bob Coble told the Associated Press.

The plane was operated by Global Exec Aviation of Long Beach and was certified to operate last year, an NTSB official said.

A 10-member NTSB team walked the crash site and retrieved the cockpit voice recorder, which was rushed to a lab in Washington, D.C. Because of the ferocity of the fire, investigators were unsure of the viability of the recording.

Global Exec spokesman Mark Shafer declined to comment. He said the company is sending a management team to South Carolina to cooperate with the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration. The company's website states that it caters to corporate clientele, including "many VIPS in the entertainment industry."

Relatives of co-pilot Bland gathered at the Redondo Beach home of his sister Laura Bland, who described her older brother as a veteran flier who began his career at age 17.

He logged 20 years of helicopter pilot duty for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and also spent time in the air for police departments in Santa Ana and Laguna Beach. A family man, Bland shared his Carlsbad home with his wife, Anne, 46, and 16-year-old daughter, Erin.

"He always said this could happen," Laura Bland said in a phone interview. "But of anybody we knew, he was just so conscientious that we didn't expect this at all. . . . When he was a little kid, my grandfather would take him to the Orange County airport and watch the planes take off, and he'd say, 'I'm going to do that someday!' "

Shafer declined to release information about pilot Lemmon, and her family could not be reached for comment.

The two passengers who died, Still and Baker, worked for rock star Barker. Still, nicknamed Che, was a longtime friend of Barker and sometimes worked as a bodyguard when the drummer performed in small shows.

Baker, nicknamed Lil' Chris, worked as a personal assistant to Barker and had appeared occasionally on MTV's "Meet the Barkers," the domestic-life reality show that followed the drummer, his wife and their children in 2005 and early 2006.

The 6-foot-5 Still, described by one friend as "a gentle giant," was a star football player at Centennial High School in Corona. He attended San Jose State before leaving his studies for two years when his father died.

Still was an imposing figure but also a doting son, who had taken his mother, Thelma Still, out to dinner last month for his late father's birthday. Still called before the plane took off to let her know he was flying home, his mother said.

"He was just loved and we walked and we would hold hands and we would do all the things," she said. "We were going to the fair this weekend."

Selena Gomez’s MAC Shopping Spree

Out enjoying herself on Saturday afternoon (September 20), Selena Gomez was spotted at the Beverly Center Mall for a midday shopping outing.

The “Wizards of Waverly Place” actress was accompanied by a gal pal, as the duo dropped by the MAC Cosmetics store so that Selena could stock up on her makeup supply.

Meanwhile, Miss Gomez recently ruled out any possibility of starring in a prequel to the hit HBO series “Sex and the City,” insisting that she’s too young to star in such a film.

With a prequel focusing on character Carrie Bradshaw’s High School years looking to be a sure thing, Gomez explained her situation, “That’s not really the audience I’m going for. I mean, my mom loves the show and it’s a very popular show, but that’s not the direction I’m looking to take at this time.”

Miley Cyrus: Drama on the “Hannah Montana” Set

Stepping out bright and early on Saturday morning (September 20), Disney star Miley Cyrus was spotted out getting some coffee at the Coffee Bean And Tea Leaf in Toluca Lake.

And though the 15-year-old singer/actress was nothing but smiles, breaking reports tell that Miley and her country singing father Billy Ray Cyrus are trying to get fired from their hit show “Hannah Montana”.

According to TMZ insiders, “Miley has bragged that she will get fired, making it clear she wants to focus on singing and not the show. For his part Billy Ray has also made it clear that there is more money in singing than a Disney cable show. As a result, the father-daughter team has been showing up to the set ridiculously late, stalling production and infuriating cast and crew.”

The on-set feuding is said to have caused tensions between Miley and her co-star Emily Osment, with Ms Osment’s father calling Billy Ray and Miley unprofessional.

Lindsay Lohan and Sam Ronson Pray For Crash Victims

Spotted out on an afternoon shopping spree, Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson took a trip out to Fred Segal in West Hollywood, California yesterday (September 20).

Besides spending time combing the racks at trendy shops, the “Mean Girls” starlet and her deejay mate took time to pay tribute to Travis Barker and Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein following a horrific plane crash that’s left them fighting for their lives.

Miss Lohan wrote on her MySpace page: “Please send your prayers out to Adam Goldstien (sic) and Travis Barker - along with the others lost in the plane crash… it’s so scary to think that life can end so fast… we must all treasure each and every moment - and be thankful for what we have.”

Adding her sympathies, Miss Ronson writes: “I can’t even imagine the pain their families must be in. Soooooo sad and I’m so sorry.”