JUNEAU, Alaska — A plane carrying former Sen. Ted Stevens and eight others crashed in remote southwest Alaska, killing the longtime Republican lawmaker and four other people.

A family spokesman, Mitch Rose, told The Associated Press that Stevens family has been notified about the 86-year-old was among those killed. Ex-NASA chief Sean O’Keefe was also believed to be aboard, but it was unclear whether he was among the dead.

Rescuers arrived by helicopter early today and were giving medical care to survivors, Alaska National Guard spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes said. He offered no additional details, except that there were potential fatalities.

Alaska officials reported that nine people were aboard the aircraft and that “it appears that there are five fatalities,” NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz told The Associated Press in Washington.

1:40 p.m.

JUNEAU, Alaska — A plane carrying nine people crashed amid southwest Alaska’s remote mountains and lakes, killing five people on board, authorities said today. Former Sen. Ted Stevens and ex-NASA chief Sean O’Keefe were believed to be aboard.

It was unclear if the longtime Republican senator and O’Keefe were among the dead.

Rescuers arrived on helicopter early Tuesday and were giving medical care to survivors, Alaska National Guard spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes said. He offered no additional details, except that there were potential fatalities.

Alaska officials reported that nine people were aboard the aircraft and that “it appears that there are five fatalities,” NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz told The Associated Press in Washington.

A U.S. government official told the AP that Alaska authorities have been told that the 86-year-old Stevens, a former longtime Republican senator, was on the plane. The official, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, says Stevens’ condition is unknown.

The federal official declined to be publicly identified because the crash response and investigation are under way.

Lopatkiewicz said the NTSB is sending a team to the crash site outside Dillingham, located in northern Bristol Bay about 325 miles southwest of Anchorage. The aircraft is a DeHavilland DHC-3T registered to Anchorage-based GCI.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus said the plane took off at 2 p.m. Monday from a GCI corporate site on Lake Nerka, heading to the Agulowak Lodge on Lake Aleknagik. He didn’t know if that was the final destination or a refueling stop.

The GCI lodge is made of logs and sits on a lake, and photos show a stately main lodge room with a large imposing stone fireplace, a leather sofa and a mounted caribou head on the wall.

Fergus said the plane was flying by visual flight rules, and was not required to file a flight plan.

Stevens and O’Keefe are longtime fishing buddies and the former senator had been planning a fishing trip near Dillingham, longtime friend William Canfield said. The flights at Dillingham are often perilous through the mountains, even in good weather.

Hayes said the Guard was called to the area about 20 miles north of Dillingham around 7 p.m. Monday after a passing aircraft saw the downed plane. But severe weather has hampered search and rescue efforts.

The National Weather Service reported rain and fog, with low clouds and limited visibility early Tuesday. Conditions ranged from visibility of about 10 miles reported at Dillingham shortly before 7 p.m. Monday to 3 miles, with rain and fog later.

At least two crash victims were treated Tuesday morning by military rescuers, Guard spokeswoman Kalei Brooks Rupp said. She said a team of Good Samaritans hiked into the crash site Monday night and provided medical aid until rescuers arrived.