NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol in Plane Crash

NBC Sports Chief Survives Plane Crash (AP)

A charter plane carrying NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol crashed and burst into flames during takeoff from a southwest Colorado airport Sunday, killing at least two people and seriously injuring Ebersol and one of his sons. Rescue crews were searching for another son.

Dick Ebersol, 57, and son Charles Ebersol survived the crash at the Montrose Regional Airport outside this southwest Colorado town, NBC said in a statement through its Denver affiliate KUSA-TV. Eyewitness Chuck Distel told The Associated Press by phone that Charles, a college senior, helped his father out through the front of the plane, whose cockpit had been ripped off by the force of the crash. The station said crews searched for Edward “Teddy” Ebersol, 14, by helicopter and on the ground. NBC said the plane seat was missing from the wreckage.

***

Montrose County Sheriff’s officials said two people were dead. The network said the victims were the pilot and co-pilot. No identities were released, but KUSA said Ebersol’s wife, actress Susan St. James, was not on the plane.

***

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

A sad story. Private planes, while a great perk in terms of convenience, are incredibly dangerous as compared to commercial aviation.

Update (1432): Ebersol’s 14-year-old son presumed dead (ESPN – AP)

The 14-year-old son of NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol is presumed dead in the wreckage of their charter plane, which crashed Sunday.

***

Matt Eilts, Montrose County chief deputy coroner, said Monday that a “complete and thorough search” revealed no sign of the second son on the plane, 14-year-old Edward, 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.

As expected, although still tragic.

FILED UNDER: Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    It’s funny you bring that up– I’m studying this exact topic for a customer….

    It looks like (early data) that if you measure passenger hours flown than you are safer on a commercial carrier BUT (again I’m not done yet) it looks like if you look at flight hours you are safer on a private jet.

    IOW the bigs get the advantage of the multiplier of having hundreds of people on board. But – If you look at private jets there are so many of them, that they rack up more safe hours.

    So it looks like PEOPLE are safer on the commercial jets but YOU are safer on a private.

    Weird huh?