The New York Times is reporting that former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens has been killed in a plane crash in Alaska. The crash occurred on Monday evening just north of Bristol Bay. Stevens was 86.
Senator Ted Stevens Killed in Alaska Plane Crash: Originally Reported as Survivor
The former Senator was originally reported as having survived the crash that killed five. His family released a statement on Tuesday morning offering prayers for the crash victims, but saying little of the former Senator’s fate. However, Stevens’ family has since released a statement announcing he did not survive. The three survivors of the crash were airlifted around 10 a.m. to an Anchorage hospital where they are undergoing medical treatment.
Senator Ted Stevens Killed in Alaska Plane Crash: Getting to Crash Victims Difficult
An Alaska National Guard rescue team located Stevens’ body early Tuesday morning. Fog, heavy rains and high winds made recovery of victims and survivors difficult. It took rescue crews 12 hours to reach the crash site due to the adverse weather conditions and the rugged mountain terrain. In the end, swimming crews had to be employed to reach the wreckage.
Senator Ted Stevens Killed in Alaska Plane Crash: The Crash
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the crash occurred on Monday night around 7:00pm about 320 miles southwest of Anchorage. Another plane flying in the area first spotted the wreckage and notified authorities. The area where the plane went down is undetectable by radar below 4,000 feet and the plane was not being directed or advised by air traffic controllers at the time of the crash.
Stevens, along with former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe and the other passengers on board were headed to a fishing cabin near Lake Aleknagik. The plane crash occurred about 10 miles from the lake.
Senator Ted Stevens Killed in Alaska Plane Crash: Had Premonition Would Die in Plane Crash
Ironically, Stevens was a survivor of another plane crash on December 4, 1978 that killed five of the seven passengers on board. That crash also occurred in Alaska at the Anchorage Airport which now bears Stevens name. Prior to the 1978 crash that also killed his first wife Ann, Stevens shared with friends that he had a premonition that a plane crash would claim his life. That premonition has proved true.
Senator Ted Stevens Killed in Alaska Plane Crash: Stevens Career
Ted Stevens was the longest serving Republican in U.S. Senate history, serving from December 24, 1968, until January 3, 2009. In 2008, he lost reelection after being tried and found guilty on seven counts of corruption for failing to report financial gifts received from VECO Corporation. The case was later thrown out of court on a technicality and Stevens’ conviction overturned. Despite the scandal, Stevens remained extremely popular in Alaska. Stevens was a veteran of WWII, served in the Department of the Interior under President Eisenhower, and was instrumental in the establishment of the United States Olympic Committee.
Senator Ted Stevens Killed in Alaska Plane Crash: Pivotal Figure in Prostate Cancer Research
Stevens, a father of six, was an outspoken survivor of prostate cancer. He was instrumental in the creation of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for Prostate Cancer at the Department of Defense. The program has raised nearly $750 million for prostate cancer research.
In a statement from the White House, President Barack Obama issued a statement of condolence to “the entire Stevens family and to the families of those who perished alongside Senator Stevens in this terrible accident.”
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