Alaskan Representative Mary Peltola (D) experienced a significant tragedy on Tuesday, September 12, when her husband, Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr., lost his life in an airplane accident. President Joe Biden and her fellow Congressional colleagues swiftly extended their heartfelt sympathies.
On the subsequent Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) disclosed that a single-engine Piper PA-18 had crashed near St. Mary, a village in western Alaska, on the prior day at 8:45 p.m. local time. The pilot, Buzzy Peltola, aged 57, was the sole occupant of the aircraft.
Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), revealed that the pilot had been transporting a hunter to a location approximately 64 miles from St. Mary’s and tragically crashed shortly after departing the mountainous area. At the crash site, two hunters discovered Mr. Peltola amidst the wreckage and administered medical assistance, but unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries before rescue teams could reach him.
The Peltola family consisted of seven children, with three of them being Mr. Peltola’s offspring from previous marriages. Mr. Peltola dedicated more than three decades of his career to the US Fish and Wildlife Services before assuming the role of Director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Region. He retired from his position just last year.
At the time of the plane crash, Congresswoman Peltola was in Washington, DC. Her Chief of Staff, Anton McParland, released a statement expressing profound sorrow over the congresswoman’s personal tragedy. He described “Buzzy” as an individual who excelled in a remarkably versatile manner in various aspects of life. McParland conveyed that the entire community was deeply saddened by the Peltola family’s loss.
President Biden issued a statement in which he expressed that he and First Lady Jill Biden were extending their “affection and thoughts” to Peltola. The President, who himself endured the tragic loss of his first wife and young daughter in a car accident, remarked, “Such a loss is cruel and unfair, and the first hours, days, and weeks will be the hardest.”
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland conveyed both the president’s statement and her own heartfelt condolences on the situation. Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) conveyed her surprise and sorrow regarding the congresswoman’s bereavement, highlighting that Mr. Peltola played a pivotal role as the primary supporter and steadfast pillar for his wife.