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Sat, Jul 14, 2012

Former Alaska State Lawmaker Fatally Injured In Seaplane Accident

Airplane Flipped On Landing On Beluga Lake Near Homer, AK

Former Alaska State Legislator Cheryll Heinze has been fatally injured in a floatplane accident near Homer, AK. The accident occurred late Tuesday while the Cessna 206 in which she was a passenger flipped over during a landing attempt on Beluga Lake near the city.

The 65-year-old one-term legislator was one of five people on board the 206. All were employees of Matanuska Electric Association who were going on a fishing trip, having been invited by a power plant contractor, according to a report in the Anchorage Daily News. MEA General Manager Joe Griffith was flying the plane. The other four people on board suffered only minor injuries.

Winds were reportedly gusting to about 30 knots across the lake when the accident occurred, according to a lakeside resident. Heinze apparently became trapped in the airplane when it flipped over and submerged. First responders said the airplane was completely under water when they extracted Heinze from the cabin. They attempted CPR, but were unable to revive her.

Hienze was the director of human resources and public affairs for the association. The others on board the airplane were found holding on to the floats of the aircraft when rescuers arrived. Her husband, a consultant and former Alaska Department of Natural Resources commissioner, had planned to join them later on the trip.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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