Survivor: ‘Chunks of Slush’ Slid Off Challenger

 - January 9, 2007, 10:52 AM

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, one of three who survived the Nov. 28, 2004, crash of a chartered Challenger 600 at Montrose, Colo., said he saw “chunks of slush” sliding off the cabin roof and across his window while the twinjet was taxiing for takeoff, according to the recently released NTSB factual report. The Air Castle-operated aircraft crashed on takeoff, killing Ebersol’s son, the pilot and the flight attendant. Ebersol, his other son and the copilot were injured. The takeoff occurred after the airplane had landed at Montrose, where Ebersol’s wife, actress Susan Saint James, had disembarked. The airplane then sat for about 50 minutes before taxiing. Snow was falling, and the lineman who fueled the airplane told the Safety Board that one of the pilots exited the aircraft, examined the slush that had accumulated on the nosewheel slush guard and returned to the cockpit without asking to be deiced. The pilot said he was taxiing to 10,000-foot Runway 17/3 and the driver of a snow plow on that runway said he would be off the runway “momentarily.” Instead, the pilot took off from 7,500-foot Runway 31. Ebersol said the left wingtip hit the ground after the aircraft was 20 to 50 feet in the air. The NTSB has yet to issue a final report.