ANCHORAGE, Alaska: An mid-air plane collision in Anchorage on Friday killed seven people, including a state lawmaker who flew one of the planes, Alaska officials said.
There were no survivors of the crash near the airport in Soldotna, a town on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska state soldiers said in a written statement.
State Representative Gary Knopp, who represented the area, was alone on one of the planes. The other plane was carrying four tourists from South Carolina, a guide from Kansas and a pilot from Soldotna, the soldiers said.
All seven victims were declared dead at the site, with the exception of one person who died while being transported to hospital, soldiers said.
Collision debris fell on a highway, which was briefly closed for safety reasons.
The Federal Aviation Administration identified one of the planes as a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.
Knopp, 67, was a Republican and a member of the bipartisan majority in the House of States. Several colleagues expressed their condolences.
“I am devastated and shocked to learn of the crash that claimed the life of Gary Knopp,” Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, an independent, said in a statement. “Gary was a one of a kind leader and a true Alaskan who worked tirelessly for his District in the Legislature. He will be sadly missed. ”
The other victims were identified as pilot Gregory Bell, 67, guide David Rogers, 40, and visitors from South Carolina: Caleb Hulsey, 26; Heather Hulsey, 25; Mackay Hulsey, 24; and Kirstin Wright, 23.
The last fatal mid-air collision in Alaska occurred in May 2019 near Ketchikan. Six people were killed when two planes carrying cruise ship passengers on tourist expeditions collided. Ten survivors of this collision were rescued from the site.
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