Travis Barker plane crash: What the musician has said about the 2008 accident

Travis Barker boarded a plane for the first time after over a decade with the encouragement of his wife, Kourtney Kardashian  (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Travis Barker boarded a plane for the first time after over a decade with the encouragement of his wife, Kourtney Kardashian (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Travis Barker and his Blink-182 bandmates have put out a new song before the release of their first album together in 12 years.

In the song, called One More Time, the group confess their feelings about how their reunion was inspired by devastating life events that prompted them to put their pride aside and work things out.

They sing: “I wish they told us, it shouldn’t take a sickness, Or airplanes falling out the sky,

“Do I have to die to hear you miss me? Do I have to die to hear you say goodbye? I don’t want to act like there’s tomorrow. I don’t want to wait to do this one more time.”

The falling airplane reference to the plane crash Travis Barker survived in 2008 prompted many fans to want to learn more about it.

Here is a comprehensive look at what happened and what Travis Barker has said about it.

Travis Barker’s plane crash

In 2008 Travis Barker was involved in a fatal plane crash that nearly took his life.

On September 19, Barker, his security guard Charles Still, his personal assistant Chris Baker, his friend and colleague DJ AM, and two pilots boarded a small aircraft to fly from South Carolina to California. However, just before the plane took off, passengers said they heard a loud bang, which Barker has likened to “gunshot” sounds.

Air traffic controllers have said that they saw sparks coming from the plane and the pilots reported back that a tyre had blown out and they had to abort take-off. However, before they went ahead and aborted it, the plane ran out of runway space and crashed through the airport boundary fence.

The plane crossed the South Carolina 302 Highway and eventually stopped at an embankment before suddenly bursting into flames. It took firefighters an hour before they could get the fire under control.

Both pilots, Still, and Baker, lost their lives. It was only Travis Barker and DJ AM who managed to escape the aircraft with second-degree burns.

Barker has said they were covered in jet fuel and caught fire, and had to slide down the plane’s wing to get off the plane. He said he then ripped his clothes off to put out the fire before someone told him to stop, drop and roll to get rid of the flames.

His injuries almost led to him having to get his right foot amputated, but the doctors were able to save it.

Barker was in hospital for 11 weeks and went through 27 different surgeries and skin grafts to recover.

When he was talking about the accident on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the drummer said: “When I was in the hospital, I was on so many drugs I didn’t even know my two friends had passed away. I didn’t know the pilots had passed away. I didn’t remember anything.

“I kept thinking everyone was in the hospital, including the two pilots and including my best friends. I thought everyone was in different rooms until two weeks before I left. Then I went crazy … I wasn’t in a good place.

“In about 11 of my 30 surgeries in the burns centre, I woke up swinging on doctors. I’d be opened up and just go crazy.”

He added: “I would try get off the table … I don’t think I knew what was going on but they just couldn’t give me enough medication to knock me out because I’d been self-medicating for so long and abusing meds for so long. I’d just wake up in the middle of anaesthesia.”

In 2015, the musician confessed that he had suffered from suicidal thoughts after the accident, and in 2021 he revealed that the crash had given him PTSD.

Talking about it to Men’s Health, he explained: “If I saw a plane [in the sky], I was determined it was going to crash, and I just didn’t want to see it. The closer I was to it, it felt like I was closer to the bad stuff than I am to the good stuff. I felt closer to the experience of trying to escape, [to] being in an accident and being burned, trying to grab my friends from a burning plane.”

The incident didn’t just disrupt Barker’s mental wellbeing, it also gave his children a fear of flying. So, they have been working on overcoming their fears together as a family.

In 2021, Barker boarded a plane for the first time in 13 years with his now-wife Kourtney Kardashian. The two took a private jet to Cabo, Mexico with Barker’s children.

Talking about the milestone to Nylon, the drummer said that he feels “invincible” when he’s with Kourtney Kardashian. He said: “I made a deal with her that she had just to say to me, ‘I would love to do so much travelling with you. I want to go to Italy with you. I want to go to Cabo with you. I want to go to Paris with you. I want to go to Bora Bora with you.”

“And I said, ‘Well, when the day comes you want to fly, I'm telling you I'll do it with you. I would do anything with you. And just give me 24 hours’ notice.' And that's what she did.”

Since then, Barker and his children have been able to enjoy plane trips to Italy, among other countries.