MONTROSE, Colo. (AP) — NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol survived a charter plane crash that killed at least two people yesterday, the network said in a statement through its Denver affiliate KUSA-TV. Rescue crews were searching for one of Ebersol’s sons.
Montrose County sheriff’s officials said three survivors, including Ebersol, were seriously injured when the jet crashed through a fence and burst into flames while taking off from Montrose Regional Airport, which serves the Telluride Ski Area.
One of Ebersol’s sons, Charles Ebersol, survived, but another son, Teddy, was missing, KUSA reported late yesterday. NBC said the pilot and co-pilot were killed.
The station said crews searched for Teddy Ebersol by helicopter and on the ground. NBC said his seat was missing from the wreckage.
Charles Ebersol is a senior at Notre Dame. The plane was on its way to South Bend.
Eyewitness Chuck Distel told KUSA that one of the wings and the cockpit were ripped off the plane after it skidded sideways.
“There were two people outside the airplane when we pulled up. Both of them pretty much were in shock,” he said.
Linda McCool, a nursing supervisor at Montrose Memorial Hospital, said three men were brought to the hospital after the crash, but had all been transferred to other hospitals by yesterday afternoon. Dan Prinster, vice president of St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, said two people were moved there from Montrose Memorial.
Neither McCool nor Prinster would release any other information on the survivors. NBC said Ebersol’s wife, actress Susan St. James, was not on the plane.
The crash occurred in an area covered with small brush and cedar trees, sheriff’s Communications Supervisor David Learned said. A large drainage ditch also is at the site.
A storm hit much of the state over the weekend and dumped more than three feet of snow in the area, but it was not known if weather was a factor in the crash. Montrose is less than an hour from the Telluride Ski Area, popular with celebrities.
The plane’s tail number was N873G, identifying it as a CL-601 Challenger registered to Jet Alliance of Millville, N.J. An operator at Jet Alliance said she had no information about the crash.
Investigators from the FAA and National Safety Transportation Board were en route to the airport, 185 miles southwest of Denver.
Ebersol became president of NBC Sports in 1989 and has turned it into the Olympic network, buying the U.S. broadcast rights for every Summer and Winter Games through 2012. Ebersol also worked as an NBC entertainment executive, and in the early ’80s, was executive producer of “Saturday Night Live.”