The Travis Barker Plane Crash: How It Impacted The Drummer’s Life

The plane crash involving Travis Barker claimed the life of four people with two others injured in the tragedy.

By Rick Gonzales | Updated

Travis Barker was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after complaining of bad stomach cramps. He was accompanied by his wife, Kourtney Kardashian, who was seen right behind Barker while he was being wheeled in on a gurney. The Blink-182 drummer had been experiencing massive pain which was cause for concern, which led some to believe that the Travis Barker plane crash could be part of the cause.


12 days after an MTV gig, Travis Barker and DJ AM were playing another in South Carolina. After the show, Barker, AM, and two of their close friends, assistant Chris Baker and security guard Charles “Che” Still, boarded a private plane.

What led to the Travis Barker plane crash was tragic. As the plane was barreling down the runway for takeoff, the tires blew. The plane overran the runway, skied across the nearby highway, went headlong into an embankment, and burst into flames.

The plane’s two pilots, Baker and Still, died on impact. Somehow, Barker and AM were able to escape the burning wreckage through the plane’s emergency exit.

Barker, though, was drenched in jet fuel and engulfed in flames. He ran across the highway completely on fire. AM trailed Barker, eventually able to dampen the flames with his own shirt. Travis Barker suffered third-degree burns across 65 percent of his body because of the plane crash.


DJ AM in Iron Man 2

He would be in the hospital for three months where he endured 26 surgeries and had multiple skin grafts. Because of the Travis Barker plane crash, he was unable to attend his friends’ funerals. Sadly, less than a year after the deadly accident, AM would die from a drug overdose.

Travis Barker is the sole survivor of the plane crash. Before the crash, he had an immense fear of flying. Since the crash, he has never stepped foot on an airplane. He says, though, he will. “I have to,” he says via Men’s Health. “I want to make the choice to try and overcome it.”

When AM overdosed, Barker’s reality really hit him. He says of AM when he was alive that “we were each other’s therapists.” Together they looked for people in their situation, survivors of plane crashes but what they found instead were families of loved ones who were lost in a plane crash. “So it was just him and me. When he left, I was like, ‘Oh, f*ck. I’m the only one in my club. It’s just me.’ And I find my ways to deal with it.”


There is the before and after of Travis Barker and the plane crash. He claims that before the crash he was never a big drinker. He did, though, smoke copious amounts of weed. He says he’d routinely smoke upwards of 20 joints a day. He also had a painkiller habit that he developed as a way to cope with his fear of flying when he toured with Blink-182.

The drug habit he developed got so bad that it caused a calcium deficit in his body and also caused osteoporosis. While he was in the hospital after the crash, there were a number of times he would wake during surgeries because his tolerance for opioids was so high. Could all this early damage along with Travis Barker’s plane crash be what caused Barker’s pain and eventual trip to the hospital?


“It was pancreatitis. He was complaining of cramps.” This announcement came to PEOPLE via a source very close to Barker. Could pancreatitis cause this pain? Did the Travis Barker plane crash have anything to do with it?

It was reported that Barker had a colonoscopy, and it was this that triggered pancreatitis. But, according to experts, it is a very rare occurrence for this to happen. First off, a colonoscopy procedure is one in which a doctor uses a colonoscope (a flexible tube with a camera and light at the end of it) to journey through the rectum and colon to seek out abnormalities in your lower gastrointestinal tract. They look for ulcers, polyps, inflamed tissue, and cancer.

But these procedures are considered to be extremely safe and according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, out of every 10,000 procedures, there are only four to eight serious complications. The most common serious occurrence includes bleeding and perforation of the colon.

The perforation (hole in the wall of the colon) typically happens when the doctor has to remove a polyp for observation. There are additional complications that have arisen from this procedure that include severe abdomen pain, adverse reaction to given sedatives, and in the extremely rare case, there has been a death reported.

“These risks are much more common than pancreatitis,” said Suneal Agarwal, MD, associate professor of gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at Baylor College of Medicine, to Health. Agarwal added that although pancreatitis following colonoscopy has been reported, it is a very uncommon occurrence.

“Hundreds of thousands of colonoscopies are performed every year,” he explained. “And in terms of the rate of pancreatitis, it has been associated with colonoscopy on a case report level, meaning like less than 10, per se, that have been reported in medical literature.”

Pancreatitis is the medical term used to describe the inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is the gland inside your body that helps with digestion and also regulates the body’s blood sugar. Now, if one was to get acute pancreatitis, this inflammation could cause very severe symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, fever, and pain in the abdomen. While there are over 270,000 cases of acute pancreatitis diagnosed each year, over 80% of those are mild cases.

Typically, acute pancreatitis is usually caused by gallstones. But as Dr. Agarwal notes, it is extremely rare for a colonoscopy to be the cause of pancreatitis. He feels more time and studying are needed to determine what exactly has caused this for Barker.

“I think more facts need to be known about the situation before commenting [that] the colonoscopy caused it,” said Agarwal. “It’s extremely rare. I can’t stress the fact enough that it is very, very rare to get pancreatitis after a colonoscopy.”


Kourtney Kardashian has remained by her husband’s side throughout the ordeal. After accompanying Barker to the hospital, Kardashian has remained at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, keeping a close eye on his progress.

You may recall the whirlwind romance between Barker and Kardashian with Barker proposing to Kardashian in October 2021 on the beach in Montecito, California. The entire thing (proposal and dinner) was captured and featured on an episode of Hulu’s The Kardashians. That was the beginning of three (yes, THREE) “weddings” the pair had, though all were in the years following the Travis Barker plane crash.

The first was on April 4, 2022, when they had their first, a “practice wedding” they called it, in Las Vegas. They went to a small chapel in the middle of the night and were married by an Elvis impersonating official. The second time the pair got married was on May 15 when they legally wed at a courthouse in California.

This official ceremony was in preparation for their third wedding, which was a lavish three-day affair. Barker and Kardashian brought family, friends, and their loved ones to Portofino, Italy, where the couple, for the third time, exchanged their wedding vows.

We can see why the third time’s the charm and also why Kardashian has no plans of leaving her sick husband’s side.

travis barker plane crash

In 2005, Barker’s band, Blink-182, went on hiatus. Barker had joined the band in 1998, taking over for original drummer Scott Raynor, who was dealing with a drinking problem. At the time, Barker was the drummer for Blink-182’s tour-mate band, The Aquabats (performing as The Baron von Tito), so when Barker was asked to fill in for Raynor, Barker amazingly learned Blink-182’s 20-song setlist 45 minutes before their first show.

Three years into Blink’s hiatus though before the Travis Barker plane crash, Barker teamed up with Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein to form TRV$DJAM. AM would mix tracks on stage while Barker would drum live to the tracks. They were booking regular gigs and even played at the MTV Video Music Awards. It was, in part, this chain of events which led up to the crash.