[Update 2: It’s official: Stevens was indeed killed in the Alaska plane crash, according to family spokesman Mitch Rose. The website NASA Watch says that former NASA chief Sean O’Keefe was also on board, but survived.]
[Update 1: CBS News has just changed its story to say that there are “conflicting reports” about whether Stevens has been killed. The Anchorage Daily News is reporting that the presumed source, a friend of Stevens named Dave Dittman, now says he “isn’t sure” whether Stevens was killed.]
Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has been killed in the crash of a small plane in Alaska, according to CBS News. The network is relying on a “family friend” of Stevens:
Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history who
lost his seat after a corruption conviction that was later dismissed,
was killed Tuesday in a small plane crash in Alaska. He was 86.
A family friend said Stevens was among five people killed in the crash in southwest Alaska.
The Anchorage Daily News, however, isn’t declaring Stevens dead yet. The paper agrees that five of the nine people on board were killed, but says it is “unclear” whether Stevens or another passenger, ex-NASA chief Sean O’Keefe, were among the dead.
Stevens was the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history when he was turned out by voters in 2008, after being convicted of lying on Senate disclosure forms about home renovations and other baubles he received, including a massage chair and a gas grill. The conviction was later overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct, but Stevens’ reputation as a pork-barrel politician who did favors for powerful friends was by then pretty well entrenched.
The Daily News says the plane that crashed was owned by GCI, “an Anchorage-based provider of telephone, cable TV, Internet and wireless services across the state,” and was on its way to a fishing lodge owned by GCI near Lake Aleknagik.