Alaska lawmaker and six others die when two planes collide midair

Cheryl Sanders
August 4, 2020

"The DPS sends a heartfelt condolence to all who lost a loved one in this mid-air collision", Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price said.

In addition to Knopp، 67، of Kenai، Alaska، the state Department of Public Safety identified the others killed as: Gregory Bell، 67، of Soldotna، who was the pilot; David Rogers، 40، of Kansas، who was a guide; Caleb Hulsey، 26; Heather Hulsey، 25; Mackay Hulsey، 24; and Kirstin Wright، 23، all of SC.

Knopp was piloting the Piper and was the sole occupant، Clint Johnson، chief of the Alaska regional office of the National Transportation Safety Board، said. The agency hoped to be finished with recovery efforts by the end of Saturday, and the goal is to bring the two planes to a secured location in the Wasilla area, Johnson said. While one plane had a single occupant, the other had six people on board.

Two aircraft collided in mid-air on Friday near the Soldotna Airport on Kenai Peninsula in the US state of Alaska, killing seven people, including Alaska House Representative Gary Knopp, Anchorage Daily News report updated on Saturday.

Owings said the Hulsey family has a strong connection to the district, calling the accident "a tragedy beyond words".

The 2 aircrafts clashed roughly 2 miles northeast of the Soldotna Airport, the FAA declaration stated after crash. "Gary has served the Kenai Peninsula community for decades".

In 2019, his move to form a bipartisan majority caucus upset the Republican majority, sparking ire from some Republicans in the district and an unsuccessful bid to recall him. I have flown with Greg and never felt to be in better, more safety-focused hands while in the air.

"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.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has ordered the United States flag and Alaska state flag to be flown at half-staff in honor of Knopp for three days. "He will be missed by many".

"Throughout his 42 years on the Kenai Peninsula، Gary became well known as an avid outdoorsman، a skilled pilot، and a dedicated public servant،" the governor said.

Knopp dealt with 2 Republican oppositions in theAug 18 main. Without a doubt, his presence will be missed by those whom he faithfully served.

More information will be available as the troopers and NTSB investigate. 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, a longtime contractor who was also a flight instructor and pilot, was elected to the Legislature in 2016.

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