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The plane that crashed, resulting in the tragic death of Rep. Peltola’s husband.


confirmed to be carrying more than 500 pounds of meat and antlers. These are the circumstances surrounding the crash; official investigations or reports may provide additional information. The spouse of U.S. Representative Mary Peltola, Eugene Peltola Jr., tragically died in a tiny plane crash in rural Alaska while transporting more than 500 pounds of moose meat and antlers from a distant hunting site. On September 12, just after takeoff, the small town of St. Mary’s, located 65 miles northeast, was the site of the disaster. The only person on board, Eugene Peltola Jr., was discovered to be conscious but tragically died at the scene of the incident.

Details concerning the incident are provided in the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) initial report; however, it could take up to two years to produce a final report with probable cause findings. Peltola had driven five hunters, a guide, and gear from Holy Cross to an isolated camp some 80 miles northwest of the settlement before the crash. Peltola was assigned the duty of carrying the collected meat back to Holy Cross as part of the group’s plan to shoot moose. He had previously picked up one load of meat and gone back for another on the day of the disaster. Antlers were attached to the plane’s right-wing strut, and the report states that the second load had between 50 and 70 pounds more meat than the first.

According to the report, Peltola talked with one of the hunters about the weather and the sporadic gusts of wind. The hunters told Peltola that the gusts were heavier near the airstrip’s departure end. When the accident happened, there were two hunters at the location, and they helped Peltola after it happened. The remaining members of the hunting party had left earlier by air, though the story doesn’t go into additional detail regarding their departure. The aircraft was not releasing smoke or fumes, and the investigation finds no indication of a catastrophic engine failure. The cargo load was mostly made up of moose meat and a set of antlers; it weighted about 520 pounds when it was weighed at the accident scene.

Alaska News Source/ Getty Images

Eugene Peltola Jr. was a former employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, having held the position of Alaska regional director. After being elected to Alaska’s sole U.S. House seat in the previous year’s election, his wife, Democrat Mary Peltola, made history as the first Native Alaskan in Congress. She succeeded Republican Don Young, who had held the position for 49 years until his demise in March 2022.

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