Alaska state legislator Gary Knopp and six others die when his plane crashes into another mid-air killing everyone aboard including four tourists from South Carolina

A midair plane collision in Anchorage, Alaska on Friday killed seven people, including a state lawmaker who was piloting one of the aircraft.
There were no survivors of the crash near the airport in Soldotna, a city on the Kenai Peninsula, the Alaska State Troopers said. 
State Rep. Gary Knopp, who represented the area, was flying solo, piloting one of the planes.
The other plane was carrying four tourists from South Carolina, a guide from Kansas and a pilot from Soldotna, the troopers told KTUU-TV.
All seven victims were pronounced dead at the site except for one person who died while being transported to a hospital, according to the troopers.
Alaska State Rep. Gary Knopp (seen above) was killed in a mid-air collision between the plane he was flying and another aircraft
Gregory Bell, 67, was the pilot of the other aircraft involved in the mid-air collilsion
The brother of Kirstin Wright (left), 23, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, confirmed her death on Friday. She was in one of the planes with her boyfriend, Mackay Hulsey (right), 24, a personal trainer, who also died.
Gregory Bell, 67, (left) was the pilot of the other aircraft involved in the mid-air collilsion. Kirstin Wright (right), 23, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, and her boyfriend, Mackay Hulsey (pictured with her), 24, a personal trainer, also died
The above image shows wreckage from the crash site about two miles from Soldotna Airport near Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday
The above image shows wreckage from the crash site about two miles from Soldotna Airport near Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday
Crash debris fell on a highway, which was shut down briefly out of safety concerns.
The FAA initially said the two planes involved were a single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and a twin-engine Piper Aztec.
However, the FAA later said it did not believe the second plane was a Piper Aztec, but it had not yet confirmed the make and model of the airplane involved. 
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
Knopp, 67, was a Republican and a member of the state House bipartisan majority. Several colleagues expressed condolences.

'I'm devastated and shocked to learn of the crash that claimed Gary Knopp's life,' House Speaker 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 missed by many.'
The other victims were identified as pilot Gregory Bell, 67, guide David Rogers, 40, and the South Carolina visitors: Caleb Hulsey, 26; Heather Hulsey, 25; Mackay Hulsey, 24; and Kirstin Wright, 23.

Mackay Hulsey and his girlfriend, Kirstin Wright, are seen above in this March 2019 file photo
Mackay Hulsey and his girlfriend, Kirstin Wright, are seen above in this March 2019 file photo
'I just lost the rest of my world,' William Wright, Kirstin's brother, wrote on Facebook on Friday. 'My loving sister is gone and I don't know how to feel.'
'I just lost the rest of my world,' William Wright, Kirstin's brother, wrote on Facebook on Friday. 'My loving sister is gone and I don't know how to feel.'
Mackay Hulsey's Facebook page indicates he was a personal trainer. He is seen above with Kirstin Wright in April 2019
Mackay Hulsey's Facebook page indicates he was a personal trainer. He is seen above with Kirstin Wright in April 2019
Mackay Hulsey, a personal trainer, and Wright were a couple, according to their Facebook pages.
Kirstin's brother, William Wright, confirmed his sister's death in a heartfelt Facebook post on Friday.
'I just lost the rest of my world,' William Wright wrote. 
'My loving sister is gone and I don't know how to feel.'
Mackay and Kirstin were in the plane with his older brother, Caleb, and his wife, Heather. The two were married in June 2019. 
Mackay and Caleb Hulsey are two of three brothers. Harrison Hulsey of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was not on the plane. 
The two planes collided in mid-air approximately two miles northeast of Soldotna Airport, the FAA statement said after the 8:30am crash.
Alaska State Troopers on scene were feeding information back to a National Transportation Safety Board investigator in Anchorage immediately after the crash, said Clint Johnson, head of the NTSB’s Alaska division.
The FAA sent two investigators to the crash site, which is about 150 miles southwest of Anchorage on Kenai Peninsula.
Mackay Hulsey's older brother, Caleb Hulsey (left), 26, died alongside his wife of a year, 25-year-old Heather Hulsey (right)
Mackay Hulsey's older brother, Caleb Hulsey (left), 26, died alongside his wife of a year, 25-year-old Heather Hulsey (right)
Caleb and Heather Hulsey were married in June 2019, according to their social media pages
Caleb and Heather Hulsey were married in June 2019, according to their social media pages
Mackay and Caleb Hulsey are two of three brothers. Harrison Hulsey of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was not on the plane. From left: Mackay Hulsey, Heather Hulsey, Caleb Hulsey, and Harrison Hulsey
Mackay and Caleb Hulsey are two of three brothers. Harrison Hulsey of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was not on the plane. From left: Mackay Hulsey, Heather Hulsey, Caleb Hulsey, and Harrison Hulsey
The NTSB will investigate the accident and determine a probable cause.
Knopp, a Republican, left the House GOP caucus and served in a coalition of Democrats, independents and GOP lawmakers that comprised the House Majority.
That left the remaining House Republicans in the minority.
Knopp faced two Republican challengers in the August 18 primary. 
A message sent to the state Division of Elections to see if Knopp’s name would remain on the ballot was not immediately returned.
Knopp was first elected to the state House in 2016, and served for years before that on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.
He was born in Whitefish, Montana, in either 1956 or 1957, various media outlets report. He moved to Alaska in 1979, where he eventually settled in Kenai. 
He worked as a general contractor.
His hobbies included flying, diving, hunting, golfing 'and enjoying life in general at home on the Peninsula,' according to his legislative biography.
A single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver (like the one seen in the above stock image) and another aircraft collided in mid-air near Soldotna Airport in Alaska early on Friday morning
A single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver (like the one seen in the above stock image) and another aircraft collided in mid-air near Soldotna Airport in Alaska early on Friday morning
Rita Geller, who works at a golf course near the airport, said she started running when she heard the planes hit, and watched one fall to the ground.
'I ran to more of a clearing and basically saw it explode,' she told the Anchorage Daily News
'The engine, things were flying off of it. I didn’t see the second plane, but I saw a lot of debris flying around. It was horrific. It was just like 9/11.' 
Governor Mike Dunleavy released a statement offering condolences to the families of those who died on Friday afternoon.
'The first lady and I were heartbroken to learn of the accident above Soldotna today, and our deepest sympathies go out to the families mourning these untimely deaths,' said Dunleavy. 
'Throughout his 42 years on the Kenai Peninsula, Gary became well known as an avid outdoorsman, a skilled pilot, and a dedicated public servant. 
'His presence will no doubt be missed by those he faithfully served. 
'I can assure them that investigators will have the State's full cooperation as they begin to unravel this morning's tragic events.' 
Senate President Cathy Giessel, a Republican from Anchorage, called it 'a heart-breaking tragedy. More than a legislator, Gary Knopp was a husband, father, son, brother, grandfather,and friend. He will be tremendously missed.'
Rep. Louise Stutes of Kodiak said Knopp was not only a colleague, but a close friend.
'I'm heartbroken and devastated, and thoughts are with Gary’s wife, Helen, and his entire family.' 
The last fatal midair collision in Alaska happened in May of 2019 near Ketchikan. 
Six people were killed when two planes ferrying cruise ship passengers on sightseeing expeditions struck each other. 
Ten survivors of that collision were rescued from the site. 
Alaska state legislator Gary Knopp and six others die when his plane crashes into another mid-air killing everyone aboard including four tourists from South Carolina Alaska state legislator Gary Knopp and six others die when his plane crashes into another mid-air killing everyone aboard including four tourists from South Carolina Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 02:34 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.