Two small planes collide Sunday

Five die in Cessna accident near Wasilla

Posted: Monday, April 24, 2006

WASILLA - Two small planes collided on Sunday in the skies just south of Wasilla, killing five people on board, said Alaska State Troopers.

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There were no survivors in the crash, which happened above the Palmer Hay Flats in a remote area about 10 miles south of Wasilla, according to Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson.

The crash occurred just after noon between a Cessna 170B with four aboard and a Cessna 172 with just the pilot, according to National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson. Both are single-engine fixed wing aircraft manufactured in 1955, Alaska State Troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

Killed were the Cessna 170B pilot, David Beauregard, 45, of Wasilla, and his three children: Ryan, 16; Conner, 13; and Remi, 9, Wilkinson said.

Also killed was the Cessna 172 pilot, William Smoke, 55, of Chugiak. The bodies of the two pilots were taken to Anchorage for autopsies, Wilkinson said.

Witnesses told investigators that one of the planes was flying north, while the other was flying west. Both aircraft were at an altitude of between 500 and 800 feet when they collided.

"It appears that the westbound aircraft apparently saw the other aircraft at the last moment, tried to avoid the collision, but unfortunately that didn't work," Johnson said. Rescuers found the planes lying about 500 feet from each other.

"I only recall hearing one sound when they hit the ground,," said Don Grant, who lives 500 yards north of the crash site, "so I'm pretty sure they hit at the same time."

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