The 18-seat charter jet with six people on board crashed Sunday morning at Montrose Regional Airport, not far from the Telluride Ski Area. A heavy snowstorm had lightened up before the plane prepared to depart for South Bend, Ind., where Ebersol's son Charles is a senior at the University of Notre Dame.
Ebersol and his older son, Charles, survived the crash, but Teddy Ebersol was missing – even his plane seat has not been found.
A witness said the impact ripped the cockpit from the fuselage, and that Charles helped his 57-year-old father to safety through the front of the plane.
Hospital officials said three men were treated for injuries after the crash. Federal officials said the aircraft also had a flight attendant on board. The identities of the pilot and co-pilot, who died in the crash, were not released.
Ebersol's wife, actress Susan Saint James, was not on the plane. The family lives in Connecticut.
Eyewitness Dennis Godfrey told Andrea Lopez of CBS Denver station KCNC he saw a column of smoke driving by and went to investigate.
"It was pretty indistinguishable at that point except that it was a large business jet," said Godfrey, who was once an airport firefighter.
"It looked like it was pretty well centralized in that one spot and burning there, which leads me to believe that they ran off the end of the runway, instead of being airborne, and they crashed," Godfrey said.
Another witness, Chuck Distel, told The Associated Press by phone that Charles helped his father out through the front of the plane, whose cockpit had been ripped off by the force of the crash
Distel said the pair was walking around outside the wreckage as Distel and an airport official arrived. He said Ebersol didn't say a word as 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 airport official yelled into the wreckage for survivors, but heard none. The wreckage left a burning trail of jet fuel and burst into flames, forcing Distel and other rescuers to get away.
Linda McCool, a nursing supervisor at Montrose Memorial Hospital, said three men were taken to the hospital after the crash and later transferred to other hospitals. Dan Prinster, vice president of St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, said two people were moved there from Montrose Memorial and another patient was being flown to a burn unit in Denver. Neither McCool nor Prinster would release any other information on the survivors.
A weekend storm that covered most of the state dumped more than 3 feet of snow in the Montrose area. It was not known if weather was a factor and 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 in a statement, 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 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."