August 11, 2010
Update: Sky News  now reports Stevens died in the crash.
It is being reported today that former Republican senator Ted Stevens and the former head of NASA Sean O’Keefe were aboard a plane that crashed in Alaska.
O’Keefe is the head of the plane manufacturer EADS.
The downed plane, a DeHavilland DHC-3T, crashed about 10 miles northwest of Aleknagik, Alaska, according to Reuters .
The media is reporting that more than half of people aboard the plane were killed in the crash but there was no confirmation if Stevens or O’Keefe are among the dead.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement that at least 5 of the 8 or 9 people aboard the plan were killed in the crash about 320 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Stevens and O’Keefe, according to the Associated Press , are longtime fishing buddies and the former senator had been planning a fishing trip near Dillingham,according to friend William Canfield. Media reports have not definitively put Stevens on the flight, which is unusual.
Stevens survived a 1978 plane crash at Anchorage International Airport that killed his wife, Ann, and several others.
In 2006, Stevens, who described the internet as a series of “tubes,” fought a losing battle against net neutrality  and failed to get the 60 votes necessary to pass his Communications Act of 2006.
Stevens was involved in a number of scandals. The Justice Department is investigating whether federal funds that Stevens moved into the Alaska SeaLife Center may have benefited a former legislative aide, Trevor McCabe. In 2007, the FBI and a federal grand jury investigated an extensive remodeling project at Stevens’ home in Girdwood, Alaska. Stevens’ Alaska home was raided by the FBI and IRS on July 30, 2007. Also in 2007, it was reported that Stevens had steered millions of federal dollars to a sportfishing industry group founded by Bob Penney, a longtime friend.
On July 29, 2008 Stevens was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts of failing to properly report gifts. He was found guilty on seven counts of making false statements on October 27, 2008. Stevens faced a maximum penalty of five years per charge.
Stevens was defeated by Mark Begich, the former mayor of Anchorage, the son of U.S. Representative Nick Begich, who disappeared in a plane over Alaska with U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs in 1972. His eldest son, Nick, is well known in Alaska for his own political activities and is the foremost public authority on the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), founded in 1993 in Gakona, Alaska and operated by the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Research Laboratory.