1st LD: Two aircraft collide in U.S. Alaska, state legislator killed

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SAN FRANCISCO, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Two aircraft collided in midair Friday morning near the Soldotna Airport on Kenai Peninsula in the U.S. state of Alaska, Anchorage Daily News (ADN) reported.

A single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and a twin-engine Piper Aztec were involved in the crash approximately two miles northeast of the airport at 8:30 a.m., according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the crash.

The wreckage fell near the Sterling Highway, according to NTSB Alaska chief Clint Johnson.

The number of people on board was not immediately available, but the death of Alaska House Representative Gary Knopp, a Republican, was confirmed by several of his legislative colleagues. Knopp's wife, Helen, said he had been flying his own plane Friday morning, ADN said in the report.

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. Enditem

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