Alaska State Troopers have confirmed the identity of the pilot and sole occupant involved in a fatal crash northeast of St. Mary’s as Bethel resident Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr, The husband of Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, and former regional director of the Alaska Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Peltola’s Piper Super Cub went down shortly after takeoff 64 miles northeast of St. Mary’s after dropping off a hunter in the area. The aircraft’s ELT was triggered by the crash. Alaska State troopers were notified at 8:50 PM on Tuesday evening.
The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (AK RCC) deployed an Alaska Air National Guard rescue team to the scene.
After the crash, two hunters in the area attempted to provide medical care to Peltola, but Peltola unfortunately expired before the rescue team arrived.
The rescue team transported Peltola’s remains to the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson where the body was then turned over to the State Medical Examiner’s office for autopsy.
Anton McParland, Representative Peltola said in a statement on X, “He was one of those people that was obnoxiously good at everything. He had a delightful sense of humor that lightened the darkest moments. He was definitely the cook in the family. And family was most important to him. He was completely devoted to his parents, kids, siblings, extended family, and friends – and he simply adored Mary. We are heartbroken for the family’s loss.”
Senator Murkowski also posted on X saying, “I am shocked, saddened and truly beyond words to express my grief at the loss of Gene Peltola Jr. Anyone who met Buzzy felt his warmth, generosity and charm. It was easy to see why so many Alaskans called him a friend, and how he was so loved by his family.”
Secretary Pete Buttigieg said “Our hearts go out to Rep. Mary Peltola after hearing the shocking news of the loss of her husband, Eugene, after a plane crash in Alaska. My deepest condolences and prayers are with Mary, her family, and all who knew him.”
The NTSB is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash.