NTSB releases details of Ted Stevens crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the documents it is reviewing as it investigates a 2010 crash that killed former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Stevens and four others were killed when the DeHavilland Canada DCH-3T they were flying in crashed in Alaska.

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Among documents released Thursday were summaries of interviews with three surviving passengers, which included former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe and his son.

One of the survivors, a 19-year-old male, said the weather was bad the day of the flight, but the pilot, who died in the crash, was alert.

"The passenger stated that he thought [the pilot] was a “really good” pilot and a nice guy," the report said of the survivor identified only as "passenger #1."

"He said that on the accident flight the pilot was in a friendly mood and alert, and that the pilot was not doing paperwork or reading anything while he was flying," the report stated.

The group was on a fishing trip when the plane crashed into a mountainside near Aleknagik, Alaska, in August of last year.

Another unidentified passenger, a 53-year-old male, said he "sensed no indication of a problem with the flight prior to impact," the report said.

"There was no maneuvering, change in aircraft attitude, change in engine noise, discussion of a problem, expletives, or excited utterances prior to impact," the NTSB summarized "passenger #2" as saying.

Two other survivors were also interviewed, as were representatives of the company that operated the fatal flight and employees at the fishing lodge they were traveling to. The wife of the deceased pilot, Terri Smith, was also interviewed.

The NTSB won't determine a cause of the crash until late May, officials there said Thursday.

"The information released today is factual in nature and does not provide any analysis. A determination of findings, probable cause, and recommendations will be released during the public Board Meeting on May 24, 2011. This is a document release only." 

Stevens served six terms in the Senate before being defeated in 2008 by Sen. Mark Begich (D).