Midair collision kills 7 in Alaska, including state lawmaker

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.

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.”

Blogs

Tuesday’s Dirt

Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger are parents.  The couple gave birth to a baby girl that they named Lyla Maria Schwarzenegger Pratt.  This is Katherine’s first child and Chris’ second.  This also makes Arnold Schwarzenegger a grandfather. ‘Tiger King’ star Carole Baskin’s missing millionaire husband’s family is suing her.  The family’s attorney says they believe…

Monday’s Dirt

Celebrities seem to be getting nervous about the rumors surrounding Ellen DeGeneres’ show so they are choosing to do interviews with Kelly Clarkson instead.  They seem to be worried they will get caught up in her drama. Simon Cowell was seriously hurt on Saturday when he fell off an electric bike and broke his back. …