Five Dead In Alaska Midair

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Two professional well-regarded pilots -- one with his three children on board -- were at the controls on Sunday when their two airplanes collided in midair, about 20 miles northeast of Anchorage, Alaska. All five people were killed. David Beauregard, 45, an Alaska Airlines pilot, was flying a Cessna 170B with his three children, Ryan, 16; Conner, 13; and Remi, 9. They had just lifted off from Birchwood Airport at about noontime in clear weather, headed for Talkeetna. William Smoke, 55, a pilot for the Fish and Wildlife Service, was flying a 172. He had apparently just taken off from the same field but was returning for a landing when the two aircraft collided. "According to flight investigators, Smoke in the 172 probably saw the 170 and attempted to gain altitude to avoid the other plane but somehow he ended up crashing into the other plane's belly," a local CBS news affiliate reported. Both aircraft were less than 1,000 feet above the ground. The field is uncontrolled and neither airplane transmitted any distress calls. Two eyewitnesses at the airport did see the entire event, an NTSB spokesman told The Associated Press.