Former Senator Ted Stevens Killed in Plane Crash
On Monday night, former Senator Ted Stevens was killed, along with four others, in a plane crash outside of Dillingham, Alaska. Nine people total were on the small plane when it went down, including ex-NASA Chief Sean O'Keefe. O'Keefe and his teenage son survived the crash.
Stevens and O'Keefe were longtime fishing buddies and were headed to the Agulowak Lodge on Lake Aleknagik in the float plane, a 1957 DeHavilland DHC-3T.
Stevens, an accomplished World War II pilot, was known for his tireless support of Alaska and his post as Senator there. He brought billions of dollars to the state over the 40 years he served Alaska. Those 40 years made him one of the longest standing Republicans in the House.
However, in 2008 he was tried and convicted on seven counts of corruption allegations, which were eventually cleared by the Attorney Generals' office, after he had lost his Senate Seat. Stevens was also responsible for the now infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" project, which sought millions of dollars for bridge construction in Ketchikan.
Stevens was no stranger to plane crashes. In 1978 he was one of two survivors of a plane crash at Anchorage International Airport that killed his wife, Ann, and several others.
The cause of the crash is unknown, but the flights through the mountains around Dillingham are no walk in the park, even when the weather is clear. Especially in a small plane. In Alaska, plane crashes are much more common than in other states because of the remote access of much of the state.
Obama released his sentiments about the Senator earlier today. "A decorated World War II veteran, Sen. Ted Stevens devoted his career to serving the people of Alaska and fighting for our men and women in uniform," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "Michelle and I extend our condolences to the entire Stevens family and to the families of those who perished alongside Sen. Stevens in this terrible accident."
Stevens joins an unfortunate list of U.S. politicians that have perished in plane crashes over the years including; Pennsylvania Sen. John Heinz in 1991, South Dakota Gov. George Mickelson in 1993, Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan in 2000 and Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone in 2002.
Stevens is survived by his second wife Catherine and daughter Lily.