DILLINGHAM, ALASKA (BNO NEWS) -- A plane carrying eight to nine people crashed near the city of Dillingham in Alaska on late Monday, officials said on Tuesday. Reports said former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, as well as former NASA official Sean O'Keefe were on board.
The 1957 DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter aircraft went down about 20 miles north of Dillingham on Monday evening, but the exact time of the accident was not immediately known. The Alaska Air National Guard responded to the scene at around 7 p.m. AKDT after another aicraft spotted the wreckage.
The Anchorage Daily News reported that friends of former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens fear he could have been aboard the aircraft. However, there was no immediate confirmation from his family or his staff.
A spokesman for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS) said its North American CEO, Sean O'Keefe, was also on the aircraft. "Local authorities are reporting that there are survivors and a rescue operation is underway," said Guy Hicks, a spokesman for EADS North America.
EADS North American is the North American operation of EADS, an aerospace corporation based in the Dutch city of Leiden. It develops and markets civil and military aircraft, as well as communications system, missiles, space rockets, satellites, and other systems.
Sean O'Keefe is best known as the former Administrator of NASA and led the space agency from December 2001 to February 2005.
Maj. Guy Hayes, a spokesman for the Alaska Air National Guard, told the Anchorage Daily News that there are fatalities, but also survivors. "From what I'm told, there are survivors on this aircraft. I don't know how many could be fatalities at this point," he said.