Drummer Travis Barker was involved in a fatal plane crash in 2008 and has since been on a long road to recovery, both physically and mentally.
The musician surviving the horrific Learjet crash, which killed four of the six people on board, is a miracle. The plane was heading to Los Angeles, California, from Columbia, South Carolina, and while on the runway, aborted takeoff and sped through the airport’s fence onto the highway. The aircraft eventually crashed into an embankment and burst into flames. Investigators have since said the emergency decision was due to a burst wheel.
At the time, Travis and Adam Goldstein, known as DJ AM, were able to jump out of the plane before it exploded. “When I jumped through the emergency exit when the plane blew up, I was in such a hurry to exit the plane I jumped right into the jet, which is full of fuel,” the Can I Say author told Joe Rogan during an appearance on his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience” in 2018. Sadly, DJ AM died of an overdose nearly a year later.
“My whole body lit up. I had jet fuel in my whole body. I burped jet fuel for almost three months [later],” he explained. “When I jumped into the jets, I started running … I was ripping off my clothes because that’s what my instinct told me to do … but little did I know I was still on fire because I was soaked in jet fuel.”
Thankfully, Travis heard someone in the crowd of onlookers yelling for him to stop, drop and roll, which helped put out the flames. He was still left with third-degree burns over 65 percent of his body. The California native spent 11 weeks in the hospital and at burn centers and underwent 27 surgeries and skin grafts.
“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,” Travis recalled. “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.”
The “All the Small Things” artist said at the time he was “suicidal” and would offer friends $1 million if they would help him end his life. “I did a lot of post-traumatic therapy when I was in the hospital to calm things down after my surgery. Over time, I started to feel better,” the “Adam’s Song” musician said.
Travis’ children, son Landon and daughter Alabama, helped pull the struggling artist through those dark days, although he noted “it was just as hard for them” to see their dad go through something so traumatic.
“Learning how to walk again and being able to take a shower by myself again … they were the good points that helped me turn a corner,” he said.
These days, Travis is vegan and very dedicated to his health. He has not flown since the accident but said he may be open to it in the future. “I tell my children, ‘When you’re ready to fly, I’m ready to fly,’” he said. “So if my son came to me and said, ‘Dad, let’s fly to Hawaii,’ or, ‘Dad, let’s go to Australia,’ I’m in Australia.”
“I don’t want it to be a handicap for them, and I dread it,” he continued. “You know, I lose sleep over it, but if and when they say they want to do it, I’m going to do it.”