Report: Rep. Knopp dead in Soldotna plane crash

    Soldotna, Alaska (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration says two small airplanes collided in mid-air near Soldotna Friday morning, with Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai dying in the crash.

    According to the Anchorage Daily News, Rep. Knopp was killed in the crash on Friday morning.

    It was not immediately known how many people were on board the two planes.

    Also presumed dead in the crash is Greg Bell, the owner of High Adventure Air Guides & Outfitters.

    Sen. Pete Micciche posted a memorial to Knopp and Bell on social media after the crash.

    "I have known Gary Knopp and Greg Bell for most of my life. Gary has served the Kenai Peninsula community for decades," Micciche wrote. "I have flown with Greg and never felt to be in better, more safety-focused hands while in the air. We are reeling from the loss in our community. Please keep the Knopp and Bell families in your prayers."

    Wreckage after the collision at 8:30 a.m. came down near the Sterling Highway and briefly closed the highway.

    The FAA says the planes involved were a single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and a twin-engine Piper.

    The collision occurred about 2 miles northeast of the Soldotna Airport. Two federal investigators were dispatched to the scene shortly after the crash.

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