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Alaska plane crash kills 7, including state lawmaker

CNN logo CNN 1 day ago By Jay Croft, CNN
a large tree in a forest: A crash involving two aircraft near Soldotna has resulted in the deaths of seven people, Alaska State Troopers said Friday afternoon. Troopers have identified Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai as the only occupant of one of the planes. The other plane had six passengers who were identified as 57-year-old Pilot Gregory Bell of Soldotna, 40-year-old David Rogers from Kansas, 26-year-old Caleb Hulsey, 25-year-old Heather Hulsey, 24-year-old Mackay Hulsey and 23-year-old Kirstin Wright all from South Carolina--reports CNN Affiliate KTUU. © KTUU A crash involving two aircraft near Soldotna has resulted in the deaths of seven people, Alaska State Troopers said Friday afternoon. Troopers have identified Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai as the only occupant of one of the planes. The other plane had six passengers who were identified as 57-year-old Pilot Gregory Bell of Soldotna, 40-year-old David Rogers from Kansas, 26-year-old Caleb Hulsey, 25-year-old Heather Hulsey, 24-year-old Mackay Hulsey and 23-year-old Kirstin Wright all from South Carolina--reports CNN Affiliate KTUU.

Two small planes collided in the air in Alaska on Friday, killing all seven people on both aircraft, including a state representative from the area, state troopers said.

The crash occurred about 8:30 a.m. local time in Soldotna, about 150 miles south of Anchorage, troopers said in a statement.

One plane was piloted by Rep. Gary Knopp, 67, of Kenai, troopers said. He was the only person on board.

The victims in the other plane were its pilot, a guide, and four people in their 20s from South Carolina. All six died at the scene, except for one who died while being taken to a hospital, troopers said.

Alaska state Rep. Gary Knopp was killed in the midair collision of two planes near Soldotna on Friday, July 31, 2020. © Becky Bohrer/AP Alaska state Rep. Gary Knopp was killed in the midair collision of two planes near Soldotna on Friday, July 31, 2020.

The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that it is investigating the crash "involving a Piper PA-12 and a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver."

Gov. Mike Dunleavy ordered the US and state flags be flown at half-staff for three days.

"Throughout his 42 years on the Kenai Peninsula, Gary became well known as an avid outdoorsman, a skilled pilot, & a dedicated public servant," Dunleavy said on Twitter.

"His presence will no doubt be missed by those he faithfully served."

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