WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sean O'Keefe, who heads the
U.S. unit of European aerospace company EADS , is
recovering well after a small plane crash in Alaska and may
soon be ready to leave intensive care, a family spokesman
O'Keefe, 54, a former NASA administrator, had minor surgery
on a fracture in his lower left leg last week after being moved
to an undisclosed Washington hospital from Alaska one week ago,
and it appears to be the only surgery he will require.
O'Keefe has been weaned off some life support equipment and
the hospital is starting to prepare to move him out of the
intensive care unit, family spokesman Paul Pastorek said in a
O'Keefe and his son, Kevin, 19, were among four people who
survived the Aug. 9 crash near Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska
that killed former Senator Ted Stevens and four others.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a
preliminary report on the crash last week and is continuing to
The report cited marginal visual meteorological conditions
at the time of the crash at Dillingham Airport, which is about
18 miles south of the site. Searchers encountered conditions
that would have required flying by instrument when they arrived
at the accident site almost six hours later, it said.
Weather conditions at the accident site were not known, but
winds were gusting at up to 23 knots at the airport at the time
of the crash.
The plane's emergency locator transmitter broke off its
mounting bracket on impact, separating the antenna cable, the
report said, which explained why no emergency locator signal
was detected by searchers.
Stevens and O'Keefe, who once worked for the senator on the
appropriations committee, were on a fishing trip to a remote
part of Alaska.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa, editing by Gerald E.