Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr., killed following a plane crash Tuesday evening in Alaska

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:28 AM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The husband of Alaska representative Mary Peltola, Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr., has passed away following a plane crash Tuesday evening in Alaska. He was 57-years old.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it is investigating the crash of a Piper PA 18-150 Super Cub that went down at 8:48 p.m. Tuesday under unknown circumstances near St. Mary’s, according to the Associated Press.

The pilot, Eugene Peltola Jr., was the only person on board.

“The pilot flew a hunter and the hunter’s equipment to a remote location 64 miles away from St. Mary’s. After leaving the hunter, the plane took off to return and appears to have crashed in an area of remote, mountainous terrain,” the NTSB said in a statement.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (AK RCC) deployed an Alaska Air National Guard rescue team to the scene, stated Austin McDaniel, Alaska State Troopers Communications Director.

Two hunters, who were at the scene but not involved in the crash, provided medical care to the injured pilot, Eugene Peltola Jr. Peltola unfortunately died before the rescue team arrived.

The rescue team transported Peltola and the two uninjured hunters back to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. Peltola’s body was brought to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

The NTSB is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash.

Privacy for the Peltola family is asked at this time as Mary Peltola heads home to Alaska.

“He died doing what he loved.” That’s what family and friends are saying as they mourn the loss of Eugene Peltola Jr.

Eugene Peltola was the Regional Director of the Alaska Bureau of Indian Affairs for several years before retiring in 2022. This position many say, was not just a job to him... but a role he took pride and honor in. Aside from honoring his public service... many are sharing fond memories, saying not only was he a devoted family man, but a sincere friend with a big heart.

“We are devastated to share that Mary’s husband, Eugene Peltola Jr. ′Buzzy’ to all of us who knew and loved him passed away earlier this morning following a plane accident in Alaska,” stated Peltola’s chief of staff, Anton McParland.

“The experience of losing a partner and loved one is one of immeasurable grief, which no one should have to endure. I, along with my House colleagues and the entire DCCC family, am praying for Mary and her family,” said DCCC Chair Suzan DelBene.

Governor Dunleavy responded to the news saying he and his wife are “saddened and shocked” while praising Peltola’s career in public service.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said, she was “shocked, saddened and truly beyond words to express my grief at the loss of Gene Peltola Jr. Anyone who met Buzzy felt his warmth, generosity and charm. It was easy to see why so many Alaskans called him a friend, and how he was so loved by his family.”

Sen. Dan Sullivan said he and his wife Julie were “shocked and saddened beyond belief” after hearing the news.

President Joe Biden and his wife have offered their love and prayers to Representative Mary Peltola.

In a statement issued Thursday, September 14, the president recalled meeting Eugene Peltola during his visit to Bethel in May. Biden praised him for his public service and his devotion to his family.

He offered these words to Peltola’s loved ones: “Such a loss is cruel and unfair, and the first hours, days, and weeks will be the hardest. But we hope you remember that he will always be with you and we pray the day will come when his memory will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes. It will take time, but that day will come.”

This article was updated with information provided by The White House on Thursday, Sept. 14.