Flags at Half-Staff for Former-Senator Ted Stevens

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The flags flying over the US Capitol are at half-staff today in honor of former Senator Ted Stevens. They will remain that way until his internment. The decision was made by Congressional leaders.

One of the Alaska National Guardmen who responded to the plane crash that killed Stevens and four others described the rescue today. Senior Master Sergeant Jonathan Davis was one of two pararescue airmen who were dropped at the scene early yesterday morning. Their helicopter couldn’t land at the site, so they were hoisted down to the ground. Davis says one of the survivors was outside the plane, but the other three were still inside the wreckage.

The four medical professionals who reached the site Monday evening helped the survivors make it through the long cold night. Davis says they kept the victims warm with blankets, but didn’t have any medical supplies. They were able to bring some supplies in on the helicopter, but then had to hike a long way to reach the crash site. They couldn’t carry the heavy load of supplies over the alder and scree covered hillside in bad weather.

Davis says the survivors suffered from spine injuries, one had a compound lower leg fracture, one had a possible fractured pelvis and another had an ankle injury. He says the young teenager who was sitting in the front seat was the only survivor who was outside the plane.

Davis says the survivors were sitting throughout the plane, from the front to the very rear of the aircraft. He says the most difficult part of the rescue was getting them on spine boards and out of the fuselage.

The four survivors were flown yesterday to Providence hospital in Anchorage. The hospital lists former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe in critical condition. His son, Kevin O’Keefe is in serious condition along with Jim Morhard. A fourth survivor, teenager William Phillips Junior is not in the Providence patient database, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t at the hospital. Patients can opt out of the system.

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