Wreckage from a fatal midair collision lies in the woods on Friday, July 31, 2020 near the Sterling Highway and Mayoni Street in Soldotna. (Loren Holmes - ADN)
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Two aircraft collided in mid-air on Friday near the Soldotna Airport on Kenai Peninsula in the U.S. state of Alaska, killing seven people, including Alaska House Representative Gary Knopp, Anchorage Daily News report updated on Saturday.

One of the aircraft involved in the crash was a single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The other twin-engine aircraft had been later confirmed as a Piper PA-12.

Alaska Department of Public Safety said in a statement that one plane carried six people.

Gary Knopp was the only occupant in the other aircraft.

All were confirmed deceased on the scene except for one person that succumbed to injuries during transport to the local hospital, the statement said.

It added that positive identity has been made on all occupants of both aircraft and next of kin notifications have been made.


Mr Knopp was a certified flight instructor and registered pilot.

He was elected to the Alaska Legislature in 2016 after serving on the Kenai Borough Assembly.

He was a candidate in this year’s Republican primary for House District 30, according to the ADN report.

Alaska Governor, Mike Dunleavy, has ordered the U.S. flag and Alaska state flag to be flown at half-staff in honour of Knopp, beginning mid-day Friday and ending at sunset on Monday.

“Throughout his 42 years on the Kenai Peninsula, Gary became well known as an avid outdoorsman, a skilled pilot, and a dedicated public servant.

His presence will no doubt be missed by those he faithfully served,’’ Mr Dunleavy said.

The Alaska legislative leaders, on both sides of the political aisle, also expressed their grief over Mr Knopp’s death and extended condolences to his wife and family.

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