Live

Watch CBSN Live

Ebersol's Son Feared Dead In Crash

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol and his college-age son emerged from the wreckage of a chartered jet after the plane crashed, but authorities said Monday his 14-year-old son was presumed dead in the wreckage.

The 18-seat aircraft with six people on board crashed Sunday morning at Montrose Regional Airport in southwest Colorado, not far from the Telluride Ski Area. Two crewmembers were also killed.

After the accident, there was no sign of 14-year-old Edward "Teddy" Ebersol. His plane seat was also missing, reports CBS News Correspondent Teri Okita. The FAA said the charter crashed through a fence at the end of the runway and burst into flames.

"There was fire at the scene, most of it is pretty well burnt," said airport spokesman Scott Brownlee.

Witnesses say Dick Ebersol, 57, was pulled form the wreck by his son, Charles. Both men were found walking near the wreckage before being taken to a local hospital. The plane was headed to South Bend, Indiana, where Charles is a senior at Notre Dame.

Matt Eilts, Montrose County chief deputy coroner, said Monday that a "complete and thorough search" revealed no sign of Teddy Ebersol anywhere around the crash site.

"We believe at this time that the boy has probably perished within the crash," Eilts said. He said the search in the wreckage would get under way when federal crash investigators arrived later Monday.

A heavy snowstorm had eased up before the plane prepared to take off. There was no immediate word if the weather was a factor in the crash.

The pilot and a flight attendant were killed, said Michael O'Connor, regional duty officer with the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington state. The co-pilot was hospitalized in Denver, while Dick and Charles Ebersol were hospitalized in Grand Junction, witnesses said.

Ebersol's wife of 23 years, "Kate and Allie" and "McMillan and Wife" star Susan Saint James, was not on the plane. The family lives in Connecticut.

Neither NBC Sports nor St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction released any information on Dick and Charles Ebersol's conditions. The co-pilot in Denver was in critical condition, authorities said Monday.

Eyewitness Chuck Distel told The Associated Press by phone that he was driving on a highway parallel to the runway when he saw the plane skid sideways through a fence and brush before hitting a road that ripped the cockpit from the fuselage. The Denver Post said the plane had lifted off briefly before crashing.

Distel said Charles helped his father through the front of the plane and that the pair were walking around when Distel and an airport official arrived. He said Ebersol didn't say a word but the younger man cried and yelled "Oh, my God! Oh, my God!"

"I had to think for a second, 'who are these people?"' he said. "They weren't severely injured, they were in shock." Distel said Charles was able to climb into an ambulance, while the elder Ebersol was loaded onto a stretcher.

The wreckage burst into flames, forcing Distel and other rescuers to get away.

A weekend storm that covered most of the state dumped more than 3 feet of snow in the Montrose area and Distel said there was light snow and fog at the time of the crash. Investigators from the FAA and National Safety Transportation Board were en route to the airport, 185 miles southwest of Denver.

The Montrose airport is one of several that serves Telluride, a popular ski destination for celebrities.

The plane was identified as a CL-602 Challenger, which could hold up to 19 passengers, registered to Jet Alliance of Millville, N.J. The company offered its condolences but said it had no additional information.

Known as a television innovator, Ebersol has a long history at NBC.

He became the network's director of late-night programming in 1974 and replaced Lorne Michaels for a rocky tenure as executive producer of "Saturday Night Live" in the early 1980s. Ebersol, of Litchfield, Conn., became president of NBC Sports in 1989 and recently signed a contract that keeps him at the network through 2012.

Ebersol is best known for his love affair with the Olympics. A protege of Olympics-coverage pioneer Roone Arledge, he worked as an ABC researcher at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games and carried on Arledge's philosophy of presenting the Olympics through storytelling, rather than emphasizing results.

"He is very innovative," Fox Sports chairman David Hill said Sunday. "He's obviously a great leader and, from my perspective, a very worthy competitor."