Representative Gary Knopp Killed in Midair Collision Northeast of Soldotna


Representative Gary Knopp of Soldotna. Image-FB
Representative Gary Knopp of Soldotna. Image-FB

Update: All but one person was deceased on scene of Friday’s crash, the initial survivor succumbed to injuries during transport to the local hospital.

Troopers identified Rep. Gary Knopp, age 67, of Kenai, as the sole occupant of one plane. The six decedents from the other aircraft are identified as Pilot Gregory Bell, age 57 of Soldotna; Guide David Rogers, age 40 of Kansas; Caleb Hulsey, age 26, of South Carolina; Heather Hulsey, age 25 of South Carolina; Mackay Hulsey, age 24, of South Carolina; Kirstin Wright, age 23, of South Carolina.

Original: Reports are coming in reporting a mid-air collision of two aircraft northeast of Soldotna on Friday morning.

According to reports, a de Havilland Beaver and a twin-engine Piper Aztec collided near the Soldotna Airport close to mile 91.5 of the Sterling Highway at approximately 8:30 am. While the crash did not occur on the Sterling, the roadway was closed as first responders responded to the scene. The highway re-opened just before 10 am.

A complete list of casualties is currently unavailable, but legislative colleagues of Soldotna’s Republican Representative Gary Knopp of Soldotna confirm he was killed in the crash. One person was also taken to the Central Peninsula Hospital by ambulance, but the extent of that victim’s injuries is unknown.

Representative Knopp was flying his own private aircraft at the time of the crash.

Investigators from NTSB responded to the scene to investigate the details and cause of the crash.