Two planes collide north of Anchorage; one dead upon Susitna River crash

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.

Investigators say two small airplanes collided in the air west of Anchorage about noon today.

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One plane crashed in water at the mouth of the Susitna River – killing one person on-board – while the other was able to continue flying to Anchorage, where it made an emergency landing.

Clint Johnson, head of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska Region, says the pilot who landed the damaged Cessna 175 in Anchorage reported the planes were flying directly at each other.

“He suddenly saw an airplane that was basically spinner to spinner, nose to nose. He made an evasive maneuver by pulling back on the yoke, which obviously the airplane climbed very quickly,” Johnson said. “There was a collision. Don’t know where the other airplane was struck, but it struck his nose gear and left landing gear, sheered both of those off in the collision. Then the second airplane descended uncontrollably into the waters of the mouth of the Big Su.”

Johnson says the surviving pilot described the other plane as a “high-winged” Cessna but had no better description than that. He says the NTSB believes the person who died was the pilot and sole occupant, but it remained unclear Wednesday afternoon if there were any passengers.

Johnson says the deceased person’s name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

Original post via Associated Press

Two airplanes collided in the skies over Alaska north of Anchorage.

Alaska State Troopers shortly after noon were notified of the crash in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Spokeswoman Megan Peters says wreckage of one airplane was spotted a short time later near the mouth of the Susitna River.

The number of people on board was not known. Search and rescue teams were launched after the crash.

Landing gear on the second airplane was damaged but it made an emergency landing on a dirt airstrip at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base, part of Anchorage’s largest airport, just before 1 p.m.

Anchorage Fire Department Assistant Chief Erich Scheunemann said he was not sure how many were on-board the second airplane but there were no injuries.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at