FAIRBANKS (AP) — Former Republican state Rep. Mike Kelly of Fairbanks was killed Wednesday in a plane crash in Alaska’s interior, his wife has confirmed.
Cherie Kelly told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that her husband’s body will be flown to Anchorage before being returned to Fairbanks.
State Sen. John Coghill, a friend of Kelly’s, said that the Kelly family was gathering following the tragedy, Channel 2 reported.
The private plane crashed 17 miles southeast of Fairbanks with just one person on board, said Clint Johnson, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska division.
Alaska State Troopers reported that the American Champion Citabria crashed on property of Fort Wainwright.
Johnson said a military helicopter crew confirmed the fatality and wreckage. He added that NTSB investigators will be heading to the crash site, probably on Thursday.
The Daily News-Miner said that the 74-year-old Kelly is the brother of Sen. Pete Kelly of Fairbanks.
It said he served in the state Legislature from 2004 to 2010.
Officials of both the state House and Senate issued statement honoring Kelly and his work in the Legislature.
Kelly had a long public presence that included time on the University of Alaska Board of Regents, and nearly two decades leading Golden Valley Electric Association, the electric utility cooperative serving the Fairbanks region. He also worked many Fairbanks area civic organizations.