Flying Conditions Had Been Poor in Crash Area

Annie Feidt – APRN, Anchorage
Libby Casey – APRN, Washington DC
Lori Townsend – APRN, Anchorage

A plane thought to be carrying former US Senator Ted Stevens went down near Aleknagik with nine people aboard last night about 8:00 p.m. Five did not survive the crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Authorities have not publicly confirmed that Stevens was on the plane.

A National Guard helicopter has landed at the scene. A NTSB representative has arrived in Dillingham, according to radio station KDLG.

The Stevens family, in a statement Tuesday, said they were offering “their prayers for all those on board and for their families. We thank the brave men and women who are working to reach the site. We continue to work with the Alaska National Guard, the US Coast Guard and the Alaska State Troopers. We thank everyone for their support and prayers.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane took off about 2:00 p.m. and was flying from Lake Nerka to another lodge. The single-engine float plane was registered to GCI in Anchorage. It was a De Havilland DHC-3T (N455A), according to the NTSB.

APRN talked with a pilot who had flown through the crash area a few hours earlier. He said the weather had been very bad and it did not appear to have improved during the course of the day.

In a statement released to the media Tuesday morning, the Guard said:

“The Alaska Air National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard are currently on-scene of a plane crash that occurred 17-miles north of Dillingham Monday night.

An Alaska Air National Guard 210 Rescue Squadron, HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter carrying 212 Rescue Squadron pararescuemen was able to land minutes ago (about 8:00 am.) and is currently providing medical support to the crash victims at the scene.

A U.S. Coast Guard C-130 is also providing support over head and will be available to take victims in need of serious medical support to Anchorage, once victims are transported to Dillingham.”

Also believed to be among the passengers is Sean O’Keefe, a former NASA administrator.