BREAKING: Plane Carrying 8 Passengers Crashes In Alaska; Former Sen. Ted Stevens Reported To Have Been On Board -UPDATED
Update: It has now been confirmed. Senator Stevens was on the plane and is confirmed to have died in the crash. More information here.
Dave Dittman, a former aide and longtime family friend of former Sen. Ted Stevens, says Stevens was killed in a plane crash near Dillingham Monday night. Dittman says he received a call overnight Monday that said the former senator was dead. Nine people were on board, including former NASA Chief Sean O'Keefe. Five people were killed in the crash, but other identities were not known, nor are the conditions of the survivors.
Update #2: Former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe and his son were also on board the plane. MSNBC reports:
Nine people were on board, including Stevens and former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe and his son Kevin, officials said. Sources close to the family told NBC News that Sean O’Keefe suffered a broken pelvis and other bones and was expected to survive, as was his son.
Update #3: White House statement on Sen. Stevens' death
Please be respectful with your comments. Thank you.
Alaska reporter Shannyn Moore has been sending information via Twitter regarding a crash in Dillingham, Alaska carrying 8 passengers. According to reports, Ted Stevens may have been one of those on board.
Severe weather has hampered the rescue operation for eight people believed to be on board a GCI-owned aircraft that crashed near Dillingham on Monday night with possible fatalities, according to state and federal officials.
The Alaska Air National Guard was called to the area about 20 miles north of Dillingham at about 7 p.m. after a passing aircraft saw the wreckage, spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes said. Eight people were reported to be on board the aircraft, though their status wasn't immediately known, he said. There were possible fatalities, he said.
The story on ADN has been updated with this information about Sen. Ted Stevens:
The aircraft, which was reported overdue, bears the tail number N455A, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. That aircraft is a 1957 DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter registered to GCI, according to FAA records. The FAA did not immediately provide other information about how it knows that this is the aircraft.
Friends of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens said he was traveling Monday to the GCI-owned Agulowak Lodge near Lake Aleknagik, and they were concerned for him.
A woman who answered the phone at the Anchorage home of retired Air Force Gen. Joe Ralston, a good friend of Stevens, said Ralston was with Stevens' wife, Catherine, comforting her and trying to find out what was going on.
No one answered the phone at the homes of Stevens' daughter, Susan Covich, in Kenai, or his son, Ben, in Anchorage.
This photo matches the number of the airplane mentioned in the article.
Also, Todd Walker of KTUU Channel 2 reports:
Just spoke to Ben Stevens' family, they have no comment right now
The Air National Guard just released this statement:
The Alaska Air National Guard is responding to a plane crash 17-miles north of Dillingham that occurred Monday night.
The Air Force 11th Rescue Coordination Center, manned by Alaska National Guardsmen, was contacted by Dillingham Flight Service after a Good Samaritan spotted a downed aircraft around 7 p.m.
The Alaska Air National Guard's 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were alerted and are currently battling inclement weather en-route to the scene. They are expected to arrive at the plane crash site sometime after midnight.
The plane was reportedly carrying eight passengers and there are potential fatalities.
According to the RCC, there are five Good Samaritan medical personnel on scene assisting the plane crash victims.
More as it develops.