Famous Alaska Bush Pilot and Hunting Guide Die in Plane Crash

Jim Tweto (left) and Shane Reynolds (right) were good friends who had flown together before. KUIU, via Instagram

Famed Alaskan bush pilot Jim Tweto, 68, and Idaho hunting and fishing guide Shane Reynolds, 45, died in a plane crash in western Alaska on the morning of June 16. The crash occurred shortly after takeoff, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety.

At least one witness reported the Cessna 180 had taken off but not gained elevation and crashed as a result, according to the ADPS. An InReach satellite device sent an SOS signal to Alaska State Troopers at 11:48 a.m. Troopers received the signal shortly after the aircraft crashed 35 miles northeast of Shaktoolik, a coastal town on Norton Sound near Nome. AST arrived at the scene and recovered the deceased from the crash site, transferring them to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

Tweto, of Unalakleet, Alaska, was piloting the aircraft at the time. He is most widely known for his show on the Discovery Channel, “Flying Wild Alaska” which followed his family’s journey running a small regional airline that served rural communities around the western part of the state. The show ran for three seasons starting in 2011 and depicted Jim, his wife, Ferno, and their two daughters, Ariel and Ayla, tackling the day-to-day duties of operating aircraft in remote country with its unpredictable challenges. 

Reynolds, of Orofino, Idaho, was the only passenger. He was a hunting guide and owner of Northwest Fishing Expeditions, a salmon, steelhead, walleye, and sturgeon outfitter on the Snake and Columbia rivers. He was a good friend of Tweto’s, and the two had flown together in the past. Reynolds leaves behind his wife Gina and daughter Juliette. A GoFundMe is collecting donations to support the Reynolds family.

KUIU took to social media on June 19 to offer its condolences to both families, regarding Reynolds and Tweto as “great friends” of the hunting apparel brand.  

“Shane had been a part of the KUIU family since its beginning, leaving a lasting impression with anyone who was lucky enough to spend time with him in or out of the field,” the Instagram post reads. “He was a well-respected guide and accomplished hunter, but his most treasured titles were husband and father.”

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Commenters on the post shared memories of successful hunting trips with Shane. One called him “the best brown bear guide there ever was.” Another called the crash “a tragic loss for us here in Alaska.” 

“We step out onto that ledge in our everyday lives here,” the commenter continues. “Sometimes it breaks away and takes our friends and family.” 

Ariel Tweto also shared news of her dad’s passing on Instagram through a series of posts, including one post that fell on Father’s Day, June 18. In the carousel of nine photos, Jim is only indoors once. The other photos show him ice fishing, hiking, and flying, and a video clip shows him maneuvering an ATV across a slushy field. In another post, Ariel wrote, “He died doing what he truly loved and is now … up there soaring.”

The post Famous Alaska Bush Pilot and Hunting Guide Die in Plane Crash appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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