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Ex-Sen. Stevens killed in plane crash

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Ex-Sen. Stevens killed in plane crash
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, arrives at federal court for jury selection for the trial of U.S. v. Stevens in Washington on September 22, 2008. Sen. Stevens was indicted on July 29 on seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms by failing to disclose more than $250, 000 worth of gifts and services that he received while serving in the Senate. (UPI File Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo

DILLINGHAM, Alaska, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was among five people killed in the crash of a private plane in Alaska, an ex-member of Stevens' congressional staff said Tuesday.

Officials said there were four survivors of the Monday night crash in southwestern Alaska near Dillingham, The New York Times reported. Rain and fog hampered search-and-rescue efforts.

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The former aide told the Times Stevens' body was found just after dawn Tuesday. He was 86. Stevens had survived another air crash Dec. 4, 1978, that killed his wife and four other people when a Lear jet crashed at Anchorage International Airport.

Three crash survivors were airlifted on a Coast Guard C-130 plane to a hospital in Anchorage, 320 miles to the southwest.

The European aerospace firm EADS said its North American operations chief executive, Sean O'Keefe, 54, a former NASA administrator, and his son were among the survivors.

"It was with a great sense of relief and gratitude that we learned that Sean, and his son, Kevin, survived the aircraft crash in Alaska," EADS North America Chairman Ralph D. Crosby Jr. said in a statement posted on the company's Web site. "We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of those less fortunate in this terrible accident.

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"We owe a debt of gratitude for the heroic efforts of the members of the rescue crew and others who rushed to the scene. We look forward to Sean's full recovery and his rapid return to EADS North America."

The Anchorage Daily News said Stevens was flying to a fishing lodge near Lake Aleknagik.

Alaska's Federal Aviation Administration office said two survivors sustained serious injuries and two suffered minor injuries, CNN reported.

The aircraft, a DeHavilland DHC-3 registered to GCI, was reported overdue in Dillingham, federal aviation officials said.

The Alaska Air National Guard was called to the area after another plane spotted the wreckage, spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes said.

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