Death Near Dillingham




We were about to write about GCI‘s loss of Internet access for 35,000 users in Alaska, as their service on Galaxy-18 was about to be interfered with by G15, the world’s favorite zombie satellite.

As many as 35,000 people in rural Alaska may lose Internet access, long-distance phone service or both for hours at a time this week because of a "zombie" satellite that has wandered off course and is expected to scramble the signals of the Bush’s main telecommunications provider.

"Almost every single person out in rural Alaska uses one of those services somehow," said David Morris, spokesman for General Communication Inc.

GCI is airing radio ads, posting fliers and plans to send text messages to cell phone customers warning residents in roughly 100 communities — mainly in Western and Northern Alaska — of the potential outages.

The disruptions to GCI service are expected to begin Wednesday morning and continue until Saturday morning in blocks of time that will last 90 minutes to 5 1/2 hours, mostly in the morning and at night.

Picture the YouTube droughts. The silent cell phones and unanswered e-mails. Virtual "FarmVille" gardens withering and neglected on Facebook.

For Gordon Brower Jr., the 19-year-old son of a whaling captain, the outages mean exile from the online battlefields of what he calls Barrow’s favorite Xbox game — "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

"It makes me a couch potato anyways," Brower said.

Instead, we hear news of a deadly plane crash near Dillingham, AK. On board the aircraft, owned by GCI, was former Senator Ted Stevens and former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe. Five of the nine people were killed, and KTUU is reporting that one of them was indeed Ted Stevens…

Dave Dittman, a former aide and longtime family friend of former Sen. Ted Stevens, says Stevens was killed in a plane crash near Dillingham Monday night. Dittman says he received a call overnight Monday that said the former senator was dead, but no official confirmation has been made.

Nine people were on board, including former NASA Chief Sean O’Keefe. Five people were killed in the crash, but other identities were not known, nor are the conditions of the survivors.

GCI released a statement Tuesday morning that confirmed it owned the plane that went down, but did not confirm or deny any fatalities.

Late through the night rescue crews were battling bad weather conditions to reach the scene, where Good Samaritans had already arrived and were providing medical assistance, said Air National Guard spokesperson Maj. Guy Hayes.

A military C-130 and a Pave Hawk helicopter were waiting in Dillingham for the weather to break and reached the site just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The Air Guard received the call about the crash 17 miles north of Dillingham at about 7 p.m. Monday night.

Many will remember Mr. Stevens for what he did for Alaska while he served in the U.S. Senate. I’ll always remember him from the time I worked for the Smithsonian. Sen. Stevens, a harsh critic of the Enola Gay exhibit, lashed out at Smithsonian Secretary Adams in 1992: "I’m going to get people to help me make sense of what you’re saying."

Stevens received the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying behind enemy lines, the Air Medal, and the Yuan Hai Medal awarded by the Chinese Nationalist government. Peace.