At midnight that same night, the phone rang and awoke Carole and her husband, Anthony, who was in the last stages of cancer. Carole expected to hear John's voice on the other end, but instead it was John's friend, Pinky.
"[Pinky] was at Hyannis Airport, and he was waiting for John's plane, and he said, 'But they're not here. Are they there with you?'" Carole says. "And the moment he said that…I don't know how much time passed. It could have been seconds. It could have been minutes…[but] I knew immediately that the plane had probably crashed. I just knew."
Carole's journalism instincts, from the years she spent at ABC News, kicked in. She made phone calls to airports, the Coast Guard, the Air Force and Carolyn's cell phone for hours, late into the night. "I left messages hoping that she'd pick up," Carole says. "And then later on in the night, I just called just to hear her voice."
At 5 a.m., Carole made a heartbreaking phone call to Carolyn and Lauren's mother to tell her that her daughters were missing. Anthony called Caroline, John's sister. Then, they waited for more news.
"It was Saturday morning and I remember just sitting in front of the TV," Oprah says. "We were just sitting there waiting, waiting, waiting."
Carole held out hope that they might be found, but by Monday, the families began making funeral plans and on Tuesday, the plane wreckage was found. Carolyn, John and Lauren were buried at sea days later.