11 Aug 2010

Former US senator dies in plane crash

7:46 am on 11 August 2010

Former US Rebublican Senator Ted Stevens has died in a plane crash in his home state of Alaska.

Mr Stevens, 86, rose to become chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and was the longest-serving Republican member of the Senate when he lost a 2008 re-election bid amid an ethics scandal.

Sean O'Keefe, the chief executive of North American unit of EADS, the European aerospace and defence group that owns plane manufacturer Airbus, was also on board the plane, and is reported to have survived.

The single-engine propeller plane, a DeHavilland DHC-3T, crashed about 16 kilometres northwest of Aleknagik at 8 pm local time on Monday, the US National Transportation Safety Board says.

Eight or nine people are reported to have been on the plane, of whom five died.

Bad weather was hampering rescue efforts but a private medical team was on the scene after being dropped off by helicopter.