Ex-U.S. Senator Stevens Dies In Alaska Plane Crash

Four people survived Monday night’s crash near Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska. Among them was Sean O’Keefe, North American chief of European aerospace giant and Airbus maker EADS, and a former NASA Administrator who was a former aide and longtime friend of Stevens.

O’Keefe’s son, Kevin, also survived, the company said in a statement, but details of their condition were not disclosed.

Stevens, a gruff, hard-charging politician who rose to become chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, served 40 years in the Senate, longer than any Republican, before losing a 2008 reelection bid amid a corruption scandal.

He had been convicted days before the election on charges of failing to report over $250,000 (158,154 pounds) in home renovations and other gifts from an oil executive. The case was later thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct, including the withholding of exculpatory evidence from defence lawyers.

Stevens and O’Keefe, 54 and who once worked for the senator on the Appropriations Committee, were on a fishing trip in a remote part of Alaska with other former Senate staff members and their children, according to one congressional source.

The single-engine, high-wing propeller plane, a DeHavilland DHC-3T, crashed at 8 p.m. local time on Monday (5 a.m. British timeTuesday), about 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Aleknagik, a village near the Bristol Bay fishing town of Dillingham, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane was owned by General Communication Inc, an Alaska communications and cable provider. Reuters