A 27-year-old Hawaii resident was one of two people who died in a Cessna plane crash in Alaska Monday.
The occupants were identified as McKenna Vierra, a flight attendant with Hawaiian Airlines, and 23-year-old Dakota Bauder of Anchorage, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety, State Troopers.
The Anchorage Daily News reported Bauder was a flight instructor at the Angel Aviation Flight School who was doing a discovery flight with Vierra, a prospective student, at the time of the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the single-engine Cessna 172 onboard crashed in Upper Eagle River Valley Monday.
The Alaska State Troopers reported they were notified at about 8:09 p.m. Monday of an overdue Cessna 172 that departed from an Anchorage airport. “It was believed the aircraft had gone up to the Knik River Valley toward the Knik Glacier and Lake George before heading into Chugach State Park,” the state troopers said in a statement.
By 10:45 p.m., a good Samaritan spotted the wreckage in a steep mountainous area of Eagle River Valley. The bodies of Vierra and Bauder were recovered from the crash site Tuesday.
In a statement today, Robin Sparling, vice president of in-flight services at Hawaiian Airlines, said McKenna worked as a flight attendant with the airline since November 2016.
“We will remember her beautiful smile, amazing personality and steadfast faith. Our hearts are with McKenna’s family during this sad and difficult time,” Sparling said.
A GoFundMe campaign set up by Vierra’s uncle to help with any family expenses following Vierra’s death said the woman had been working toward becoming a pilot.
The campaign website also said Vierra had been recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that begins in the body’s immune system, but through chemotherapy she became “cancer free.”
The campaign reached and exceeded its $10,000 goal this evening.
The cause of the deadly crash was not immediately known. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.