We've seen Carole Radziwill reminisce about her good friends John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy on The Real Housewives of New York City. But now Carole is opening up about one of her most tragic memories of her friends like never before.
The RHONY author will appear in an upcoming episode of HLN's How It Really Happened with Hill Harper titled "JFK Jr.'s Tragic Final Flight," which will examine the plane crash that killed John, Carolyn, and her sister Lauren Bessette in 1999. In a sneak peek of the episode found over on PEOPLE, Carole remembers the last time she spoke with Carolyn. “Carolyn called me from the plane right before they were taking off, and I think it was probably a little after eight o'clock," she said. “I don’t remember anything really important from that conversation. I didn't certainly think it would be the last time I would speak to my friend.”
But there was one part of the conversation that Carole said she will never forget. “I remember at the end, she said, ‘I love you.' I don't know, for some reason, I didn’t say I love you back, and that always stuck with me," she recalled. "And she said, 'I'll call you when we land,' and that was the last I ever heard from her or anyone."
The plane took off around 8:38 p.m. and went down just before 10 p.m. Carole first felt like something had gone horribly wrong when the phone rang at midnight. "I got this sick feeling in my stomach," Carole said. "And it was John's friend Pinky. And he said, 'Are they there with you? I'm at the airport, and they're not here.'"
Carole immediately knew that she had to get to the bottom of this. “I just bolted out of bed," she said. "I spent 15 years as a journalist at ABC News, and I thought, 'OK, I need to figure out this story and solve it. Somehow, I need to figure out where they are, because they’re somewhere. One call led to another to another to another, and I called the Hyannis airport many times because I assumed that they had made a mistake. The whole time I'm calling John's friend and screaming into the phone, 'Please, you have to find somebody and John's family to tell them what was going on.'"
Around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. that morning, Carole said she realized that it was up to her to call the Coast Guard and report that John's plane was missing. “I said, ‘My cousin is missing,’” she remembered. “And then he took the name, and there was a little bit of a gasp on the other end of the phone.”
Soon a search and rescue mission began, and the plane's debris was discovered. John, Carolyn, and Lauren's bodies were found on July 21, five days after the crash, according to PEOPLE.
Carole's husband and John's cousin, Anthony Radziwill, passed away after a battle with cancer just three weeks later. Watch Carole pay tribute to her late husband on RHONY, below.