The husband of an American sports reporter killed in a light plane crash on the weekend has made the devastating revelation that he missed his wife’s final phone call.
A small plane en route to a college football playoff game crashed into a post office parking lot in Louisiana shortly after takeoff on Saturday, killing five people, including well-known sports reporter Carley McCord.
McCord was also the daughter-in-law of one of the team's coaches - Louisiana State University football team’s Steven Ensminger.
Her husband, Steven Ensminger Jr, was so distressed by the news that he had to be rushed to hospital and sedated.
In text messages with Sports Illustrated, he has since revealed how his wife tried to contact him before she died.
Ensminger Jr said McCord had texted and called him earlier in the day while he was working, but he didn’t have his phone on him.
"One of the hardest things I'm dealing with is that I missed her text and I missed her call," Ensminger Jr told Sports Illustrated.
"It is by far the most pain, angst and terror and just darkest time of my life, and I honestly don’t know how long it will last because I still don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it."
McCord's final text to her husband said, "I love you."
"It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I finally fall asleep," Ensminger Jr told ABC News.
"Every once in a while throughout the day, I find myself grabbing my phone and sending a text to her phone replying, 'I love you too.'"
The plane was an eight-passenger aircraft, said Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit.
Six people were on board the plane, five of whom were killed, he said. The sixth, a 37-year-old man, was being treated at an area hospital along with two people who were in the post office.
McCord will be sorely missed
McCord was a Baton Rouge native and sports reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans and appeared as a sideline reporter for ESPN, according to her website. She previously worked in television in Cleveland, and she was a two-time runner-up in the Miss Louisiana pageant.
“We are devastated by the loss of such an amazing talent and valued member of our WDSU family,” said WDSU President and General Manager, Joel Vilmenay.
“Carley's passion for sports journalism and her deep knowledge of Louisiana sports, from high school to the professional ranks, made her an exceptional journalist.”
McCord was also part of the game-day entertainment staff for the NFL's New Orleans Saints and the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, regularly appearing in promotional segments broadcast during games.
“Carley was a valued member of both our New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans family as an in-game host and her infectious personality and knowledge of both teams entertained our fans,” the two teams said.
Ensminger Jr said he and his wife had the same birthday, and he shared a photo of the two celebrating at a restaurant, a dessert with a candle between them.
His Instagram account shows photos of the couple and their families at various sporting events and celebrations. He updated the account Saturday to say: “I'll never be the same with out you, Carley! You are, and will forever be my world.”
McCord is the second journalist working in the New Orleans area to die in a plane crash this year. On August 16, WVUE news anchor Nancy Parker was doing a story in New Orleans about stunt pilot Franklin Augustus when the plane crashed. Both Parker and Augustus died.
with Associated Press