After the Alaska plane crash that killed Ted Stevens and four others, the four survivors wait for rescue in the wilderness.
Created by washingtonpost on Nov 22, 2010
Last updated: 11/22/10 at 10:32 PM
Tags: alaska plane crash stevens plane crash plane crash survivors
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Rescue helicopters arrive at the crash scene. Weather is still an issue, but a team is able to reach the survivors and over the course of the next three hours is able to hoist them onto the aircraft and bring them to safety. Excerpts from interviews with rescuers
Capt. Andy Williams, the search and rescue duty officer, and the rescue team decide to let the crew rest while they wait for improved weather conditions and first light. The small band of volunteers who were able to make it to the site before nightfall -- including John and Susan Dunson, far left and far right -- outfit the survivors with medicine and blankets.
Dillingham flight services reports zero visibility at the crash scene. Rescue helicopters with the equipment to lift the badly injured survivors to safety are delayed by rain, fog, darkness and dropping temperatures. It becomes clear that they will have to spend the night on the mountain until the skies clear at dawn. AirDat Weather Report sent to NTSB (pdf)
Pediatrician Dani Bowman, who had volunteered to help search, arrives on the scene after being dropped nearby by a helicopter. EMTs arrive shortly after, but aren't authorized to carry narcotics. Bowman instead finds an old pillbox of Demerol and Valium and distributes the medication to the badly injured survivors.
Helicopter pilot Tom Tucker, pictured here, drops off volunteer Bob Himschoot and then flies away to pick up a doctor trying to reach the accident scene. Himschoot is the first to reach the four survivors. "When I first got there, they gave me their names. You could tell from the tone of voice which ones were really hurting ... I made a conscious decision not to crawl into that cabin. There was enough mess, enough hurt people and I would have done more hurt. Looking in, it was just a jumble." Excerpts from interviews with rescuers
John Bouker, who operates an air taxi service and volunteered to help search for the missing Otter, spots the wreckage of the plane 19 miles southeast of the lodge in steep, heavily wooded terrain. A hand waved from the scene, alerting Bouker that there were survivors. Excerpts from interviews with rescuers
The lodge manager contacts the fishing camp to see when the group will return to the lodge for dinner and learns the group never arrived at their destination. Lodge personnel begin an aerial search; other planes and helicopters join the search voluntarily. The plane is officially reported overdue at 6:59 p.m.
Five of the plane's passengers were killed in the crash. Clockwise from top left: former senator Ted Stevens; lobbyist Bill Phillips; GCI executive Dana Tindall and her daughter, Corey Tindall; and pilot Terry Smith.
The four survivors -- clockwise from top left, Sean O'Keefe, Jim Morhard, Willy Phillips and Kevin O'Keefe -- sustained serious injuries in the crash. They could not reach any cell phone or communication equipment. Sean O'Keefe feared they might not be found in time.
The plane crashes into the side of a mountain and comes to rest leaning at a 40-degree angle on its left side. When interviewed, one survivor reports no unusual engine noise or activity. NTSB Preliminary Report on Crash (pdf)
After a late lunch, former Sen. Ted Stevens and eight others board a DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter to fly from a lodge on Lake Nerka near Dillingham, Alaska, to a salmon fishing camp 52 miles away.