The husband of sports reporter Carley McCord, who died Saturday in a small plane crash in south Louisiana, told news outlets the last text message he got from his wife before her death contained three simple words, “I love you.”
Steven Ensminger Jr., who married McCord in early 2018, told Sports Illustrated he missed a call and a text message sent Saturday by his wife before she boarded the doomed plane. He told the sports magazine he didn't see the missed call or text message until later because he was at his job and without his phone.
"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 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.' Now I don't know if that's crazy of me or not, but I'm praying she gets my message. And I wish there was a way she could let me know she has."
Ensminger told ABC News that after he learned about McCord's death from one of his aunts, his "world fell apart." Family members rushed him to the hospital, Sports Illustrated reported.
"I can remember laying in the hospital bed repeating myself saying it wasn't real and then one of the hardest things I'm dealing with is that I missed her text and I missed her call," he 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 was one of five people killed Saturday when the two-engine Piper Cheyenne they were in crashed shortly after takeoff in Lafayette. The plane had been bound for Atlanta ahead of Saturday's Peach Bowl. Ensminger's father, who shares his name, is the offensive coordinator for Louisiana State University.
The other people killed in Saturday's crash have been identified as Michael Vincent, 15; Michael's mother Gretchen Vincent, 51; the plane's pilot Ian E. Biggs, 51 and Robert Vaughn Crisp II, 59.
The sole passenger to survive was identified as Stephen Wade Berzas, 37. Berzas remained hospitalized in critical condition Monday after showing up at the hospital Saturday with burns over 75% of his body. Dr. Joey Barrios, medical director of the hospital's burn unit, said Berzas underwent surgery Monday morning to assess the extent of his wounds and apply temporary dressings to them.
National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said Sunday that the lack of a distress call and flight data recorder coupled with mangled and charged wreckage mean the investigation into the cause of Saturday’s crash could take as long as 18 months.
"Either way, it's done and she can't come back. So the how is irrelevant to me now," Ensminger told ABC News. "I guess I just have to have faith in that God has a plan and that I will get through this and be better for it and I will honor her in whatever I do."
Authorities continue to investigate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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