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Former NASA head, ex-US Sen. in plane crash

[ 2010-08-11 13:37]     字号 [] [] []  
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A plane carrying nine people - including former US senator Ted Stevens and former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe - crashed in southwest Alaska, killing five people on board, authorities said on Tuesday.

It was unclear whether O'Keefe, currently the CEO of defense contractor EADS North America, or Stevens were among the dead.

Reports from officials in Alaska were that nine people were aboard the aircraft and that "it appears that there are five fatalities," NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz told The Associated Press in Washington.

A US government official told AP that Alaska authorities have been told that Stevens, a former longtime Republican senator, was on the plane. The official, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, says Stevens' condition is unknown.

The federal official declined to be publicly identified because the crash response and investigation are under way.

Stevens was one of two survivors in a 1978 plane crash at Anchorage International Airport that killed his wife, Ann, and several others.

Defense contractor EADS North America said on Tuesday morning that O'Keefe, the current CEO of the US-based division of the European company, was a passenger on the small plane.

The company said it has no further information about O'Keefe's status.

Hayes said the Guard was called to the area about 30 km (20 miles) north of Dillingham at about 7 pm Monday after a passing aircraft saw the downed plane.

But severe weather has hampered search and rescue efforts.

Hayes said he was told by Alaska State Troopers that there were "eight or nine" people on board, though a spokeswoman for the troopers, Megan Peters, refused to comment. She said all the agency could say for sure is that a plane went down and crews were "aggressively" trying to reach the crash site but having difficulty doing so.

As of 4 am Tuesday, she said she still hadn't received word that crews had reached the site.

"I can't go beyond, 'We're responding to a plane crash,"' she said.

The National Weather Service reported rain and fog at Dillingham, with low clouds and limited visibility early Tuesday.

Conditions ranged from visibility of about 16 km (10 miles) reported at Dillingham shortly before 7 pm Monday to three miles, with rain and fog, reported about an hour later, according to the agency.

Stevens, a moderate Republican, was appointed to the Senate in 1968 and served longer than any other Republican in history. He directed billions of dollars to Alaska over the years.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Former NASA head, ex-US Sen. in plane crash

Former NASA head, ex-US Sen. in plane crash

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China daily for one year.