A small plane that went down in Alaska Monday night may have been carrying former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe. Five of the nine people on the plane were reported killed. It's not clear if Steven or O'Keefe -- if they were on the plane at all -- are among the dead.
A U.S. government official told the Associated Press that Alaska authorities have been told that the 86-year-old Stevens was on the plane, but there has been no official confirmation.
The NTSB said the plane crashed at about 8 p.m. Alaska time Monday, around 20 miles north of the town of Dillingham in a remote mountain area. Rain and fog were reported at the time of of the crash.
A private medical team was dropped at the crash site by commercial helicopter Tuesday morning. That team reported the five deaths and four survivors.
If Stevens were on the plane, this would be his second plane crash. He was one of two survivors of a 1978 crash at Anchorage International Airport that killed his wife and several other people.
Stevens and O'Keefe are longtime fishing buddies and the former senator had been planning a fishing trip near Dillingham, longtime friend William Canfield said. The flight in and out of Dillingham is an often perilous trip through the mountains even in good weather, Canfield said.
Stevens, a moderate Republican, was appointed to the Senate in 1968 and served longer than any other Republican in history. He lost his Senate seat in 2008, just a week after being convicted in a corruption trial. But five months later, Attorney General Eric Holder sought to dismiss the indictment against Stevens and not proceed with a new trial because of prosecutorial misconduct.
Stevens and his second wife have one daughter.