Pilot dies in crash near Trapper Creek during wedding reception flyover, troopers say

PALMER -- A small plane crashed near Petersville Road in the Southcentral Alaska community of Trapper Creek Sunday evening, killing the pilot, Alaska State Troopers said.

Michael Zagula, 54, was flying over his daughter's wedding reception in a Cessna 206 when the crash occurred, according to a trooper dispatch posted online late Sunday.

Zagula passed over the area of the reception when "the landing gear from his aircraft ... struck a tree and caused the aircraft to crash," troopers wrote.

No one was else was in the plane, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said.

Responders traveled to the crash site Sunday evening on four-wheelers, according to Ken Barkley, deputy emergency services director for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Troopers were also responding, Ipsen said.

Initial reports put the location of the crash near Kula Road in Trapper Creek. Responders were notified shortly after 7 p.m.

Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board's Alaska region office, said an NTSB investigator would be traveling to the site early Monday.

Zagula's body was turned over to the State Medical Examiner Office.