CHICAGO – Actress Susan Saint James told Oprah Winfrey that she cannot bear to even touch the clothes of her son Teddy Ebersol after a 2004 Colorado plane crash killed the 14-year old and two others.
"Here's the bad part ... I've never touched his clothes, I've never been able to move his things," Saint James said, her voice cracking as she wiped away tears.
Saint James, husband and NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, and their two surviving sons appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that aired Thursday for their first interview as a family since the crash.
Teddy Ebersol was aboard a chartered Canadair CL-601 Challenger jet with his father and older brother, Charlie Ebersol, on Nov. 28, 2004, when it crashed during takeoff in light snow and freezing temperatures from the airport near Montrose, Colo. Pilot Luis Alberto Polanco, 50, and flight attendant Warren Richardson III, 36, were also killed.
Dick Ebersol, Charlie Ebersol, and co-pilot Eric Wicksell were injured. Saint James, an Emmy Award-winning actress who took time off from her career to raise their children, was not on the plane.
Dick Ebersol was badly injured in the crash but said on the show that his son Charlie got him off the plane and kept him alive.
"He not only got me off of the plane ... he ran back into the plane, which had three or four-foot flames all around it, to look for his brother one more time, not knowing that his brother wasn't on the plane. And he lived through hell for two days cause somehow or other he thought he hadn't found his brother and it wasn't until they found Teddy's body which was under the plane ... that he knew that he had done everything he possibly could do."
Charlie Ebersol, who paused often to cry during the interview and was comforted by his brother Willie, said he remembered every moment of the crash, which he described as "very violent."
"It's one of those moments that ... they say lasted 15 seconds, it was hours," he said.
Dick Ebersol and Saint James said the family talks about the crash often.
"I think we would all agree, the whole family would agree that, the amazing thing is, you get up the next day, you brush your teeth, you comb your hair ... life is so powerful, you just go on living," Saint James said.