Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Former Alaska Sen. Stevens Killed In Plane Crash

Fox News: Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, one of the longest-serving senators in U.S. history and a tireless advocate for his state, was killed Monday in a plane crash southwest of Anchorage.

Former chief of staff Mitch Rose, a spokesman for the family, confirmed to Fox News that Stevens was among the five dead. He was 86.

Colleagues of the veteran lawmaker remembered him as an Alaskan "hero."

"He built Alaska and he stood for Alaska and he fought for Alaska," Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said at a news conference.

"The thought of losing Ted Stevens, a man who was known to business and community leaders, Native chiefs and everyday Alaskans as 'Uncle Ted,' is too difficult to fathom," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said in a written statement.

Shown here is former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. (AP Photo)

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Stevens was the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history when he left office after losing his seat in the 2008 election. The end of his term in office was marked by a high-profile corruption trial that was ultimately dropped after he lost re-election. The senator had served more than 40 years in office and took on a patriarchal role for his state, leveraging his seniority to win large sums of federal funding for Alaska projects. The airport in Anchorage is named after Stevens.

Officials have not yet publicly released the identities of all those injured or killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which sent a team to the crash site, said nine people were aboard the DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter, a single-engine plane commonly used to ferry passengers in and out of remote areas. The NTSB said rescuers at the scene reported five deaths.

Former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe also was on the flight but survived, according to defense contractor EADS North America. O'Keefe is the current chief executive of the U.S.-based division of the European firm.

O'Keefe and Stevens were said to have been traveling with their sons. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the plane was registered to Anchorage-based communications company GCI -- the firm owns the Agulowak Lodge where Stevens was traveling Monday.

Read more on Fox News

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