An Alaskan pilot has died after a mid-air collision with his girlfriend's plane.
Kristen Sprague, 26, and Scott Veal, 24, took off from different locations in Western Alaska, reported ABC news. They planned to rendezvous in the sky and travel together to a nearby town.
Sprague was flying a small Cessna 207 for Alaskan freight airline Ryan Air and Veal was flying a slightly larger Cessna 208 for Grant Aviation. Both were alone in their planes.
But a playful and unexplained maneuver by one of the pilots clipped a wing, sending both planes to the ground, killing Veal.
"These two pilots ended up meeting on a discrete frequency and were talking on the way back," said Clint Johnson, the senior air safety investigator on this case for the National Transportation Safety Board. "They met up and flew in close proximity to each other."
Johnson said this it is not recommended for airplanes to be so close to each other.
"Visibility was not a factor. Weather was not a factor. They saw each other," Johnson told ABC. "The fact of the matter is they were both willing participants in this maneuver that, unfortunately, had disastrous results."
As Sprague was flying, Veal pulled up on the left side of her plane, at which point the two were "neck in neck, going the same speed," Johnson said. Then, Veal went up and over Sprague's plane to her right.
Sprague recalls saying, "Scott, I can't see you" and Veal saying to her, "Whatever you do, don't pull up."
The next thing Sprague knew, her boyfriend's plane had clipped her right wing.
Veal's airplane passed underneath her from the right to the left and nose-dived into the ground.
Veal was killed when the plane burst into flames. The aircraft was almost entirely destroyed upon impact.
With minimal control over her damaged plane, Sprague was able to safely land. It took four hours for rescue helicopters to be able to pick her up.