Former US Senator dies in plane crash

Former US Senator Ted Stevens and four other people died in a plane crash in a remote part of Alaska.

Last Updated: Aug 11, 2010, 12:18 PM IST

Washington: Former US Senator Ted Stevens and four other people died in a plane crash in a remote part of Alaska, a family spokesman and government officials have said.

Stevens, 86, was one of nine passengers on board a small plane that crashed in southwest Alaska on Monday night. The group was en route to a fishing lodge.

"He (Stevens) was killed. His family has been notified of his death," the family spokesman Mitch Rose said in a statement.

Former NASA Administrator Sean O`Keefe and his son Jonathan, who were among the passengers of the ill-fated plane, both survived but sustained numerous injuries.

In an internal Federal Aviation Administration report, five people on board the small plane were killed and four were injured, two of them seriously, according to The Washington Post.

"A decorated World War II veteran, Senator Ted Stevens devoted his career to serving the people of Alaska and fighting for our men and women in uniform," President Barack
Obama said in a statement.

"Michelle and I extend our condolences to the entire Stevens family and to the families of those who perished alongside Senator Stevens in this terrible accident," he said.

Alaska Air National Guard airmen were pressed into service in Dillingham, Alaska to recover victims from the crash site. The reason for crash is not known yet.

Saddened by the death of his former colleague, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: "I served with Ted for many years and I know how beloved he was by the people of Alaska.

My thoughts are with Ted`s wife, Catherine, the entire Stevens family, and the loved ones of the other victims of this terrible accident."

A rated pilot, Senator Stevens "flew the hump" in the Burma Theatre during World War II. He understood the challenges of flying in Alaska and was responsible for
improving aviation safety throughout his beloved state, former Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration Marion C Blakey said in a statement.

"Senator Stevens` legacy will be his work on behalf of his beloved Alaska as its long serving United States Senator and his deep love for his family, his staff and his home state," said Senator John McCain.
"Though small of stature, Ted Stevens seemed larger than life, and anybody who knew him, knew him that way, for he built for Alaska and he stood for Alaska and he fought for
Alaskans," Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said.

NASA head Charles Bolden spoke about the contributions made by the late Senator to the space agency.
"We at NASA are deeply saddened by today`s news that former US Senator Ted Stevens and others were killed in a plane crash in Alaska that also injured former NASA Administrator Sean O`Keefe and his son, Kevin," Bolden said.

Bureau Report