MONTROSE, Colo. – The charter jet carrying NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol (search) and two of his sons lifted briefly during takeoff, then tipped back and forth before crashing and burning, Ebersol's actress wife said in an interview broadcast Friday.
Susan Saint James (search), speaking publicly for the first time about the crash, told NBC's "Today" she has spoken with their 21-year-old son, Charles, about what happened at the Montrose, Colo., airport. The crash killed the couple's 14-year-old son, Teddy, and two crewmen Sunday.
Charles "remembers everything — that they started to lift and tip to the right," she said. "And the pilot tried to straighten up, and tipped to the left and to the right. The pilots saw the front just get compressed like that, and they ended up outside. They were out on the snow."
Federal investigators say the plane was not deiced before takeoff, though nothing has been ruled out as a potential cause for the crash. A snowstorm had moved through the area and there was light snow and fog at the time of takeoff.
The plane was supposed to fly to Indiana to drop off Charles at Notre Dame University (search), then continue on to the East Coast with his father and older brother. It had stopped in Colorado to drop off Saint James, presumably so she could spent time at the family home near the Telluride ski resort. The family also has a middle son, Willie, 18, who attends the University of Southern California.
She said her husband has a cracked sternum — "so it is hard for him to sob" — and doesn't remember much about the crash.
Charles Ebersol is credited with pulling his father out of the wreckage before rescue crews and others arrived to help.
His mother said he doesn't consider himself a hero because he couldn't save his brother. And she said he called her on a cell phone and said, "Mom, there's been a crash. You've got to come back and help me look for Teddy."
Saint James, who starred in the TV shows "Kate and Allie" and "McMillan and Wife," said her youngest son was like a best friend, and recalled an autobiography he wrote in school.
"We read it and found out things we didn't know about Teddy, and how much we meant to him as a family," she said.
She added: "You know the saying you're never supposed to bury a child? To lose one and not another. You have to sob your brains out."