Alaska Representative’s Husband Dead in Plane Crash

( – Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr., husband of US Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK) and an accomplished politician in his own right, died after his plane went down in southwest Alaska. He had flown a hunter into a remote area in the mountains right before the plane went down. Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened, with weather conditions being a possible factor.

The plane, a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, had just taken off right before the crash. The accident took place roughly 450 miles west of Anchorage, and Mr. Peltola was the only person onboard. He had held a pilot’s license since 2004.

The crash occurred at roughly 8:50 p.m., about a half-hour before sunset. Two hunters who witnessed the crash attempted to provide first aid, but they were unable to keep Mr. Peltola alive until a medical team could get there. He left behind his devoted wife as well as seven children.

Mr. Peltola, who was 57 at the time of his death, was descended from Yup’ik and Tlingit Alaskan tribes and had been the regional director of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs for Alaska from 2018 to 2022. He was also a member of the Orutsararmiut Native Council. He worked for the state’s US Fish and Wildlife Service for 34 years and served his city of Bethel as both a vice mayor and city council member between 2010 and 2012. He retired from public service in 2022, opening a consulting firm, Alaska Carbon Solutions.

Mary Pelota, also of Yup’ik descent, was the first Native from Alaska to earn a seat in Congress. She was sworn in last year. The lawmaker earned her seat after Rep. Don Young (R) died in a plane crash in 2022.

President Joe Biden issued a statement on Peltola’s loss on September 13, praising the representative and her late husband for their devotion to one another and their country and offering condolences to their family. Representatives from both sides of the aisle have set aside partisan differences to share their support for the grieving widow.

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