The talk show host revealed to his audience that the “strange connection” he feels to the loved ones of the nine victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash is one he “wouldn’t wish on anybody.”
“I lost my father and two of my brothers when I was a boy to a plane crash that was also in heavy fog,” Colbert, 55, said.
“One of the terrible things about that shock and the heartbreaking unreality nightmare quality of someone huge in your life who just disappears is not knowing what happened,” the host added.
On Sept. 11, 1974, when Colbert was 10, his father, James, a physician, and his two older brothers, Paul, 18, and Peter, 15, were killed when Eastern Airlines Flight 212 crashed in North Carolina.
Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others were tragically killed after the helicopter they were riding in on Sunday went down in Calabasas, Calif. Authorities continue to investigate the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board revealed on Tuesday that the helicopter the nine passengers were traveling in did not have a black box recorder. Colbert pointed out this is a major flaw in helicopter safety.
“I think it’s crazy that helicopters don’t have black box recorders…We don’t know how to improve the helicopter, we don’t know how to improve the flying of the pilot so this won’t happen again,” he added.
Colbert pushed for the National Transportation Safety Board to do “something to improve the conditions” for helicopter pilots.
“These people are now in misery,” he said, adding, “Why compound their misery with mystery?”
Bryant was just 41 years old and his daughter, Gianna, was 13.
The other people on board include Orange Country residents Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester, 13; college baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife, Keri Altobelli, daughter Alyssa Altobelli; basketball coach Christina Mauser, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.