U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola’s husband has died in an airplane crash, her office said in a statement Wednesday.
“We are devastated to share that Mary’s husband, Eugene Peltola Jr. — ‘Buzzy’ to all of us who knew and loved him — passed away earlier this morning following a plane accident in Alaska,” her chief of staff, Anton McParland, said in the statement.
No other details about the crash were immediately available. A message left with the National Transportation Safety Board in Anchorage was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Peltola was returning to Alaska from Washington, D.C., to be with her family, and McParland asked for their privacy as the family grieves.
“He was completely devoted to his parents, kids, siblings, extended family, and friends — and he simply adored Mary. We are heartbroken for the family’s loss,” McParland said.
Peltola, an Alaska Democrat, was elected to a full term in the U.S. House in November, months after winning a special election following the death of U.S. Rep. Don Young. The Republican had held Alaska’s sole House seat for 49 years until his death.
Peltola, who is Yup’ik, is the first Alaska Native to serve in the U.S. House.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Crashed helicopter recovered in Canadian Arctic, CBC News
Finland: Finland’s only aircraft manufacturer loses prototype in Lapland crash, Yle News
Norway: Electric planes could arrive sooner than we think in Norway, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Helicopter crash might add power to Russia’s push for new base in Svalbard, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Poor cockpit communication behind fatal plane crash in Arctic Sweden, Radio Sweden