Nearby hunters tried to save a pilot after his plane went down, Alaska officials said.
Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr., 57, was the pilot and only person on the Piper Supercub plane that crashed “just after departure” on Sept. 12, according to a new release by Alaska State Troopers.
Peltola was the husband of Mary Peltola, a Democratic U.S. representative from Alaska, according to a statement posted on Twitter, now rebranded as X, by Anton McParland, her chief of staff.
Two hunters in the area rushed to help and try to save Eugene Peltola, troopers said.
The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center sent out a rescue team that arrived the following morning, but Peltola died before it got there, officials said.
“He was one of those people that was obnoxiously good at everything,” the statement said. “He had a delightful sense of humor that lightened the darkest moments. ... He was completely devoted to his parents, kids, siblings, extended family, and friends — and he simply adored Mary.”
He became regional director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Alaska in 2018 before retiring in 2022.
“The tragedy of ‘Buzzy’s’ passing will impact our office and all Alaskan Tribes,” the bureau said. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Rescue personnel took the two uninjured hunters and Peltola’s body to their base, the release said.
The State Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine Peltola’s exact cause of death, troopers said.
The National Transportation Safety Board plans to conduct an investigation into why the plane crashed, officials said.
The crash occurred in southwestern Alaska, about 65 miles northeast of Saint Mary’s. The city is about 435 miles northwest of Anchorage.