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406 MHZ ELT Failure


Staff member
Apr 12, 2010
Reaction score
So much for spending money for more reliability.

By Alan Levin, USA TODAY

A state-of-the-art emergency beacon on board the plane carrying former senator Ted Stevens did not broadcast its signal after the amphibious craft went down Monday in the remote Alaskan wilderness, a federal satellite tracking agency said Thursday.

If it had worked, a satellite passing over the area could have picked up the emergency signal within minutes of the crash and launched a rescue effort, said Chris O'Connors, program manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system.

The attempt to locate the plane did not begin for several hours and then was hampered as low clouds and rain closed in, forcing four injured passengers to spend the night in the wreckage, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Five other passengers, including Stevens, died at the scene. The NTSB has not said whether any of the dead survived the initial impact.

General Communications Inc., an Alaskan telecommunications company that was hosting Stevens and others at its fishing lodge, had registered an emergency beacon for its DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter with SARSAT, O'Connors said.

The newest generation of beacons, known as emergency locator transponders, are highly accurate digital devices that have been credited with scores of rescues. They provide SARSAT with the location of an emergency scene and contact telephone numbers of family members or business associates so rescue attempts can begin promptly.

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