Body thought to be Ebersol's son found
Company: Plane was not de-iced before
Monday, November 29, 2004 Posted: 8:55 PM
EST (0155 GMT)
JUNCTION, Colorado (AP) -- 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. 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,"
he said during a news conference.
The aircraft with six people on board
crashed during a snowstorm Sunday while
taking off from the airport about 185 miles
southwest of Denver. Federal authorities had
no immediate word on the cause of the crash.
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,"
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
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 white sheet 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.
He 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, Indiana.
The plane was
while on the
ground for about
an hour. With
such a short
time on the
ground, it was
choice not to
crashed about a
north of the
yards from a
crowded with 320
Ty Cox, who was
Rental at the
airport, said he
saw the plane
He said "it
looked like a
as the jet
lifted into the
air. Cox said he
turned away but
heard "a big
Then he saw a
plume of dark
A torn swath of
brush showed the
less than 300
yards from the
end of the
The plane went
through a fence
sage and cedars
for nearly a
quarter of a
within feet of a
hearing a boom
shooting 30 to
40 feet in the
air and black
A heavy snowstorm had eased up before the
plane prepared to take off, but there was no
immediate word if weather was a factor.
Steve 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 FAA said the pilot and a flight
attendant were killed. The coroner's office
identified the victims as Luis Alberto
Polanco Espaillat, 50, of the Dominican
Republic and Warren T. Richardson III, 36,
of Coral Gables, Florida, but did not say
which was the pilot.
The co-pilot was hospitalized in Denver,
while Dick and Charles Ebersol were
hospitalized in Grand Junction. Deputy
coroner Matt Eilts said the co-pilot was in
The plane was registered to Jet Alliance of Millville,
New Jersey. The company offered its condolences but
said it had no additional information.
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