With no rhyme or reason, our editorial staff chooses the top 10 biggest music-related news stories of 2008. Coming in at #8: Travis Barker and DJ AM are both critically injured in a plane crash that kills all other passengers aboard.
A departure from the light-hearted nature of our #10 and #9 choices, our #8 pick of the biggest news stories of 2008 starts an ominous trend of music-related catastrophes.
From CBS: [September, 20, 2008] Hours after performing for thousands of college students, former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and celebrity disc jockey DJ AM were critically injured in a fiery Learjet crash that killed four people, authorities said.
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 came to rest a quarter-mile (400 meters) away on an embankment across a five-lane highway, engulfed in flames.
Barker and DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, were in critical but stable condition at a burn center in Augusta, Georgia, on Saturday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Beth Frits said. Augusta is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Columbia.
One witness said he was driving when a fireball streaked across the highway about 600 feet (180 meters) ahead of him. William Owns said he approached to see the two survivors frantically trying to remove their burning clothes.
"I noticed two guys who were on fire and it looked like a dance: They didn't know what to do," said Owens, a 60-year-old delivery van driver.
Goldstein had stripped off his own shirt and was helping Barker strip naked, said Owens, who was able to identify the men Saturday night because of news reports that showed Barker's extensive tattoos.
Owens said Goldstein told him four other people were on board the jet, but the flames were too intense to get close.
"'Oh my God' was all they were saying," Owens said of Barker and Goldstein. "They stood there and it's like - didn't know what to do. None of us did."
Two other passengers -- Chris Baker, 29, and Charles Still, 25 -- died, as did pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, and co-pilot James Bland, 52, according to the county coroner. Baker was an assistant to Barker and Still was a security guard for the musician. Read the full story here.