Former NASA head Sean O'Keefe and his son survived an aircraft crash in Alaska Monday night that killed former Republican Senator Ted Stevens. The turboprop-powered de Havilland Otter (a DHC-3 single Otter) that went down about 20 miles from Dillingham in southwest Alaska. Five of nine people aboard the aircraft died. Bad weather hampered rescue efforts but local residents, including a doctor, were on the scene helping the survivors shortly after the crash. The survivors waited about 12 hours in rain and wind to be rescued from the rugged crash site. The accident happened about 8 p.m. local time as the aircraft, N455A, owned by Alaska communications company GCI, headed toward a private resort also owned by the company.
Stevens, 86, was one of the U.S.'s longest-serving senators but lost the last election after he was convicted of corruption. Stevens' conviction was vacated after the prosecutors moved to dismiss the indictment. O'Keefe, 54, left NASA in 2005 and became the CEO of EADS Defense North America. He had previously worked with Stevens in Congress for many years. Stevens and O'Keefe often went on fishing trips together.