Pilots Survive Midair Collision Near Anchorage

After a report came in about two planes colliding over Matanuska-Susitna Valley in Alaska, officials who arrived at the scene found both pilots had survived the crash. One of the pilots had serious injuries, but the other one had sustained only moderate injuries.

Both of the planes involved were Piper PA-18 airplanes, one of which belonged to an Alaska Wildlife Trooper. The collision occurred at approximately 1 p.m. Saturday, according to Alaska State Troopers and the National Safety Transportation Board. The identities of both pilots were released Saturday evening after their next of kin had been notified.

As reported by KTUU Channel 2, the pilots were identified as 35-year-old Alaska Wildlife Trooper Levi Duell from Anchorage and 52-year-old Jeffry Bara from Eagle River. Bara had to be extricated from the wreck and was then taken Providence Hospital in Anchorage by helicopter. Trooper Duell was transported by ground to Mat-Su Regional Hospital. The pilots were the only ones aboard both airplanes.

The valley where the collision occurred is near Wasilla, which is a borough of Anchorage, and is more famously known as the town where Sarah Palin once served as mayor. As Fox News reported, there is no known reason for the crash, but the NTSB is investigating the collision. They plan to talk to any witnesses that they can find among the people who live in the area, and also find out why the pilots apparently couldn’t see each other.

Pilots transported to local hospitals after surviving midair collision. [image from Alaska Dispatch News]

Pilots transported to local hospitals after surviving midair collision.
[image from Alaska Dispatch News][/caption]

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When officials arrived at the scene, they found two different wreckage sites and found both pilots alive after searching the scene. It took emergency crews two hours to extricate Bara from his downed plane. Gene Weisman, who is the district chief for Mat-Su emergency medical services, said the crash site was found about a quarter of a mile into the woods. The area were the wrecked planes were found is heavily forested and contains some swampy sections.

As reported by the Inquisitr, NTSB is also busy investigating a near miss between a JetBlue commercial aircraft and a general aviation plane at the Westchester County Airport in New York. The pilots of the JetBlue flight were able to climb to a higher altitude after visually spotting the smaller aircraft, which enabled them to prevent a collision.

The wreckage from both small planes in the Alaskan crash will be taken to a hangar so the NTSB can exam them to see if mechanical failure played any role in Saturday’s collision.

[Image by Alaska Dispatch News]