The New York Times is reporting that former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens has been killed in a plane crash in a rural area of Alaska. Former Senator Stevens was the longest serving Republican Senator before leaving office and also a decorated World War II Army Air Corps pilot.
Also on the plane were 9 other passengers, one of whom was EADS North American CEO and former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe. Mr. O’Keefe’s fate is at this time unknown. Sean O’Keefe came to NASA on December 21, 2001. His tenure at NASA included returning the Shuttle to flight after the Columbia disaster as well as the formation of the Vision for Space Exploration and the early period of its implementation.
The NTSB states the plane crashed 10 miles northwest of Aleknagik about 8 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time. The FAA has said that the plane was a DeHavilland DHC-3T Otter, tail number N455A and registered to GCI Communications Corp., based in Anchorage.
AmericaSpace Note: It is always sad news when there is a passing in the NASA family. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Senator Stevens, former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, and the other souls aboard the DeHavilland Otter.