NEW YORK — DJ AM was jolted from a nap by a real-life nightmare: the fiery plane crash in South Carolina that left him badly burned and killed four passengers.
After falling asleep on the runway, "The next thing I remember is us crashing into something," the celebrity disc jockey tells People magazine. "I woke up to (fellow survivor Travis Barker) screaming and the plane engulfed in flames. I remember thinking it was like `Miami Vice,' where a car is on fire and you run before the gas tank explodes _ we gotta get out of here!"
DJ AM (real name: Adam Goldstein) said he jumped through a fireball while rushing out of the plane after former Blink-182 drummer Barker opened a door. They stopped, dropped and rolled _ but Barker remained on fire.
"I finally put the flames out by smothering him with my body," he says. "Some of my burns are from that. His sock was on fire _ I burned my fingers taking it off."
He and Barker were the only survivors of the Sept. 19 crash at the main airport in Columbia. Two pilots and two other passengers were killed, including Barker's assistant Chris Baker.
They were treated at a burn center in Augusta, Ga., where visitors included DJ AM's mother, sister and actress Mandy Moore.
"People must have looked at me and wanted to fall apart," he said. "I asked a doctor for a mirror to see myself. The bandages were like a ski mask. But I thought I'd be OK. I didn't think, `I'll be disfigured for life.'"
As for the crash victims, "All I wanted to know was what I already knew: They died on impact. I wanted to know they didn't feel any pain. That was almost a relief," he said.
The 35-year-old DJ AM was later driven to a Los Angeles hospital, where he had two skin-graft surgeries on his neck and left arm.
He was joining Jay-Z on tour Wednesday night at the Hollywood Palladium, and said he was "looking forward to every part but traveling. ... I think I'll fly again commercially but never on a small plane. It's scary."
The recovering addict, who's been sober for 10 years, said he might visit a therapist to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I can't believe I made it," he said. "I've prayed every night for the past 10 years. There's a lot more to thank God for now. ... I was saved for a reason. Maybe I'm going to help someone else. I don't question it. All I know is I'm thankful to be here."
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