Mid-Air Collision Between Pair of Planes Kills Seven
A pair of small planes collided mid-air over Soldotna, Alaska, Friday morning, killing everyone onboard both aircraft. A passenger on one of the planes did survive for a short time following the initial impact but died not long after what remained of the planes hit the ground following the collision.
A considerable amount of information is unknown about the facts and circumstances surrounding the mid-air collision and many questions remain to be answered. What is known at this time is that one plane had only the pilot on board and the other aircraft had a total of six people, including the pilot and passengers.
The sole individual on one of the planes, who piloted the craft, was Alaska State Representative Gary Knopp. Knopp was the House Majority Leader at the time of his death. The people on the other aircraft involved in the catastrophic collision were the pilot, from Soldotna, Alaska. In addition, there were four passengers from South Carolina and one from Kansas.
The crash occurred at about 8:30 Friday morning. The majority of the wreckage from both aircraft was strewn in an area approximately 200 yards from what locally is known as the Sterling Highway, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety. In announcing the deadly collision, Commissioner Amanda Price of the Department of Public Safety stated:
"This is an unfathomable tragedy for multiple families today. Troopers and partner agencies have worked together diligently at the scene and have reached out to next of kin to notify them of this heartbreaking incident."
The Governor Alaska, Mike Dunleavy, ordered that both the U.S. and Alaska state flags be flown at half-staff for a period of three days to honor Knopp. Knopp had been a member of the Alaska House of Representatives for four years.
In addition to the Alaska Department of Public Safety, the National Transportation Safety Board has been brought into the investigation of the cause of the mid-air crash. The Federal Aviation Administration also responded to the scene of the wreckage.
As of Sunday, no specific determinations had been made in regard to the underlying cause or causes of the mid-air collision. Preliminary information about the cause of the crash is expected within the coming week.
2018 is the last year a full set of statistics is available in regard to small plane crashes in the United States, also known as civil aviation accidents. In 2018, 393 people in the United States were killed in small plane or civil aviation accidents. The fatality rate in 2018 was up 13 percent from 2017, with 347 dying in these types crashes during the earlier year.
Only one person died in a commercial airline accident in 2018. Indeed, Jennifer Riordan was the first person killed in a commercial airline accident in over nine years in the United States.
Riordan lost her life in what fairly can be called a freak accident. While traveling on a commercial airplane, an issue arose with one of the plane’s engines. Shrapnel from the engine broke loose and broke the window next to where Riordan was seated. The passenger was partially sucked out of the window and did dies as a result.
On average, three small plane crashes occur every day in the United States, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that there is about one small plane crash for every 100,000 hours flown by this type of aircraft. The accident rate is notably higher than that associated with commercial airliners in the U.S.A.
If you’ve been injured in an aviation accident, or if you’ve a loved one who has been injured or killed in this type crash, the legal team at The Doan Law Firm stands ready to assist and protect your legal rights. You can schedule an initial consultation and case evaluation with a Doan Law Firm aviation accident lawyer any time of the day or night by calling (800) 349-0000.
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