An Alaska state legislator and six others died in a tragic accident as two planes collided mid-air, resulting in the death of seven people, including four young tourists.
State Rep. Gary Knopp, 67, was flying a single-engine aircraft when his plane collided with another aircraft operated by 67-year-old pilot Gregory Bell.
While Knopp was flying solo, the aircraft operated by Bell also carried 40-year-old tour guide David Rogers and four tourists including 23-year-old Kirstin Wright, 24-year-old Mackay Hulsey, 25-year-old Heather Hulsey, and 26-year-old Caleb Hulsey.
According to KTUU-TV, state troopers confirmed that the air crash occurred near Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday morning.
While six victims were pronounced dead at the crash scene, one succumbed to their injuries while being rushed to the hospital.
Following the deadly mid-air plane crash, the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation and are working to determine probable causes of the accident.
“I’m devastated and shocked to learn of the crash that claimed Gary Knopp’s life. 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,” House Speaker Bryce Edgmon expressed in a tribute to the state legislator.
Meanwhile, William Wright, Kirstin’s brother, opened up about his loss in a Facebook post in which he confirmed his sister’s death.
“I just lost the rest of my world. My loving sister is gone and I don’t know how to feel,” William wrote.
As it came to light, Kirstin was on the plane with her boyfriend, Mackay Hulsey. With them were also Mackay’s older brother, Caleb, and his wife, Heather.
Speaking of the disastrous moment precious lives were lost, Rita Geller, an eyewitness, compared the scene to 9/11.
“I ran to more of a clearing and basically saw it explode. 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,” Geller said in an interview with Anchorage Daily News.
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