Five of nine people aboard a GCI plane that crashed near Dillingham are reported dead, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. A spokesman for former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens said Tuesday morning that Stevens was on board the plane and is among the dead.
"I can confirm to you that the senator died in the crash," said Mitch Rose, former chief of staff to Stevens.
Also aboard the plane was former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe, according to media reports. Reuters and the New York Times reported Tuesday that O'Keefe, 54, survived the crash, along with his son, who was also on board.
The downed plane -- a 1957 DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter -- is registered to General Communications Inc., according to a friend of one of the people believed to have been on the plane. The Anchorage-based telecom company operates a lodge near Dillingham. In summer, GCI employees, clients and guests routinely fly to the lodge on GCI's plane.
Rose confirmed only that Stevens is among the dead. The identities of other victims was not known as of late Tuesday morning. In a statement released shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, GCI president and CEO Ron Duncan said the company was not able to confirm specific information about the plane's passengers.
"We are aware of news reports stating that four of the nine individuals on board the aircraft have survived," Duncan's statement reads. "At this point, I cannot confirm or comment on these reports. We are waiting for authoritative information from the rescue units. All of our energies are focused on working with the rescue units and mobilizing to support the families and friends of the individuals on the aircraft."
Rescue was slowed by weather
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