ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Bush pilot Jim Tweto, known for his starring role in the Discovery Channel’s “Flying Wild Alaska” series, was killed along with a hunting and fishing guide from Idaho when their small plane crashed shortly after takeoff, Alaska State Troopers said.
Tweto’s family-run rural aviation business in Unalakleet was featured in three seasons of the television series a decade ago. He and passenger Shane Reynolds of Orofino, Idaho, died Friday near the coastal village of Shaktoolik, roughly 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of Nome, the statement said.
The plane “was witnessed taking off but not climbing and then crashing,” their report said. Troopers were notified of an SOS activation around 11:48 a.m. Friday, followed by a report that a Cessna 180 had crashed 35 miles northeast of Shaktoolik.
Troopers responding from Nome recovered both bodies. The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating.
The Anchorage Daily News reported that Tweto was a co-owner of Hageland Aviation Services and then Era Alaska, which would later become Ravn Air Group; Reynolds operated Northwest Fishing Expeditions, guiding clients in Alaska and across the Pacific Northwest for years.
Tweto, 68, died doing what he loved, his daughter Ariel posted on Instagram. She called Reynolds, 45, “a wonderful hunting guide and friend of our family.”
Born in Kansas and raised in Minnesota, Tweto came to Alaska to play hockey at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and settled in Unalakleet, where he met his wife Ferno. The couple and their three daughters were featured in the Discovery series, which aired in 2011-2012.
This story corrects name to Ravn Air Group in paragraph 5.