Former NASA head on Alaska plane

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The former head of NASA was a passenger on the private aircraft that crashed in Alaska on Monday night, his company said.

He is Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America's chief executive officer.

"Local authorities are reporting that there are survivors and a rescue operation is under way," said Guy Hicks, EADS North America spokesman "No other details are available at this time."

EADS North America is a subsidiary of EADS, the European aerospace company.
The National Transportation Safety Board has assembled a team to probe the Monday night plane crash in Alaska.

The agency said on Tuesday the plane crashed near Dillingham and cited reports that say five of the nine people on board died. Earlier, the Alaska Air National Guard statement said there were some apparent survivors and "potential fatalities."

Senior air safety investigator Clint Johnson, from the NTSB's Anchorage regional office, will be the investigator in charge, and the entire team is expected in Dillingham by midday.

Inclement weather was reported in the area at the time of the crash, said Guard spokesman Major Guy Hayes.
The NTSB said the plane, a DeHavilland DHC-3T (N455A), crashed 10 miles northwest of Aleknagik about 8 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time (midnight ET).

The Air Force 11th Rescue Coordination Center, which is manned by Alaska National Guardsmen, was contacted by Dillingham Flight Service after someone spotted the downed aircraft....

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