Former senator is killed in Alaskan seaplane crash

Ted Stevens, the former US Senator who for years reigned as the dominant and most beloved political power in Alaska, was killed in a light aircraft accident yesterday, a family spokesman confirmed last night. Sometimes known to Alaskans as "Uncle Ted", he was believed to be one of five people killed in the crash. Another four were injured.

The politician, 86, who survived a plane crash in 1978 that killed his wife, is believed to have been part of a salmon fishing party on board a DeHavilland DHC-3T Otter seaplane which came down near the remote town of Dillingham at about 7pm on Monday. All four of the survivors were hurt, two seriously.

Rescue workers battled severe weather and heavy fog to get to the scene of the accident, which is only accessible via air. They were unable to provide details of what may have caused the crash. There was confusion for several hours over whether Mr Stevens, whose political career came to a dramatic end amid scandal in 2008, was among the dead.

A five-person medical team was airlifted to the scene via helicopter on Monday night, and was reported to be providing on-site treatment to the victims. Sean O'Keefe, the former head of Nasa who now runs the aerospace and defence firm Eads, is also believed to have been on board.

"The private aircraft crashed en route to its final destination," said a spokesman for Eads yesterday. "Local authorities have said there are survivors and that there is a rescue operation under way. No other details are available at this time."

Mr Stevens, who was first appointed to the US Senate in 1968, remained in office for 40 years, becoming the longest-serving Republican Senator in history in the process, but also making his name synonymous with some of the excesses of Alaskan politics.

He was famously adept at channelling public money to the State, and used his chairmanship of the Senate's powerful appropriations committee to approve the notorious "Bridge to Nowhere" which, at a price of $450m (£285m), connected an island with only 50 inhabitants to the mainland.

In 2008, Mr Stevens was indicted by a federal grand jury for failing to report the fact that the founder of a local oil company, which had benefited heavily from his time in office, had agreed to pay for $250,000-worth of remodelling to his home in Girdwood, Alaska. He was convicted on corruption charges later that year, and shortly afterwards lost his Senate seat to Mark Begich, the Democratic former mayor of Anchorage.

However a federal judge later dismissed the case, citing prosecutorial misconduct.

Monday's accident was the third recent light aircraft crash in Alaska.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism