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By John Springer
Former NASA Administrator and Secretary of the Navy Sean O'Keefe was dazed and confused when he regained consciousness, unaware for a moment that the single-engine DeHavilland DHC-3T he and eight others had been flying en route to a remote Alaskan fishing camp had just crashed into the side of a mountain.
Pinned in the wreckage, in tremendous pain, O'Keefe surveyed his surroundings. The plane’s configuration had changed dramatically. No longer where there were two orderly rows of tan, canvas-covered seats; all had been thrown violently forward upon impact, including the seat containing 86-year-old Ted Stevens, the former longtime Republican United States senator from Alaska.
O'Keefe checked Stevens for a pulse, and found none.
"I realized my friend had passed away," O'Keefe, still wearing a neck brace, told NBC's Ann Curry in an exclusive interview which aired on NBC’s 'Dateline' October 22, 2010.