MONTROSE, Colo. -- The body of the 14-year-old son of NBC
Sports chairman Dick Ebersol was believed recovered Monday after a
fiery jet crash that killed two crewmen and left the injured
executive and another of his sons begging bystanders for help.
Coroner Mark Young said a body matching the description of
Edward "Teddy" Ebersol was found underneath the wreckage and that he was "99.9 percent sure" it was the teenager's. Heavy
equipment was used to recover the body.
"I'm not going to discuss the condition of the body out of
respect for the family," Young said during a news conference. "May God be
with his soul."
The aircraft with six people on board crashed during a snowstorm
Sunday while taking off from the airport outside this small town
185 miles southwest of Denver. A snowstorm had moved through the area, and there was light snow and fog at the time of takeoff.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene following the crash. Charles
Ebersol, the sports executive's 21-year-old son, was screaming for
help and saying his brother was still on the plane, according to
Doug Percival, a driver at a towing service who was one of the
first to arrive.
" 'Can you please help get him out?' " Ebersol pleaded, according
to Percival. The elder Ebersol was sitting on the ground nearby,
rocking back and forth.
"You could tell he was in shock. Both of them had been ripped
out of their shoes," said Percival.
Dick and Charles Ebersol remained hospitalized in stable condition Monday night and are expected to make a full recovery, NBC said in a statement.
With light snow falling, crews began picking through the charred
pile of twisted metal and a 6-foot-high shard of the fuselage with
three gaping, round windows. The two engines lay on the ground
nearby near the tail section where they had been mounted.
A backhoe was brought in to help dig through the wreckage, found
near a cattle pen in a snow-covered field dotted with knee-high
weeds. A gray tarp was draped across part of the site as crews
wrapped up work for the day.
"It's going to be a while because unfortunately a lot of the
wreckage is still covered with snow," said Arnold Scott, the lead
investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.
Ebersol has been head of NBC Sports for nearly 15 years, and is
perhaps best known for his love of the Olympics, which are
broadcast on the network.
"On behalf of everyone at ESPN and ABC Sports, I want to express our sympathies to Dick and his family," George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports, said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him during this tragic ordeal."
Ebersol and his two sons, Charles and Edward, were flying home from
California, where the older son's school, Notre Dame, played a
football game Saturday against Southern California. Another Ebersol
son, 18-year-old Willie, is a freshman at USC.
The family flew to Colorado, where they have a home, to drop off
Ebersol's wife, Susan Saint James, an actress who starred in the
1980s television series "Kate and Allie." Then, Ebersol and the
two sons were headed to drop off Charles at school in South Bend, Ind.
McLaughlin of MTJ Air Services, which de-ices private planes at the
airport, said his company did not de-ice Ebersol's plane before it
took off. Airport manager Scott Brownlee said he did not know
whether the plane had been de-iced.
Witnesses said it appeared the plane, a CL-602 Challenger, never
got off the ground. It ran off the runway and skidded across a
two-lane road, punching through fences on either side before
bursting into flames.
Percival said he was going to crawl through a hole in the plane
to look for survivors but turned around because of billowing smoke.
He said leaking jet fuel soon exploded "like Roman candles."
Gary Ellis was teaching Sunday school at a Baptist Church near
the airport when he heard a loud "poof."
"It came to a rest, and a moment or two later it exploded into
a huge fireball," said Ellis. "It was burning as it came down the
The FAA said the pilot and a flight attendant were killed. The
coroner's office identified the pilot as Luis Alberto Polanco
Espaillat, 50, of the Dominican Republic and the flight attendant as Warren T. Richardson
III, 36, of Coral Gables, Fla.
The co-pilot was in critical condition at a burn unit in Denver, while Dick and Charles Ebersol were hospitalized in Grand Junction.
The plane was registered to Jet Alliance of Millville, N.J. The
company offered its condolences but said it had no additional
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.