'Inseparable' Couple Died Together in Plane Suicide

Pilot's wife was sick with cancer: family
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2017 8:27 AM CDT
'Inseparable' Couple Died Together in Plane Suicide
A photo of the crash site near Aniak, Alaska.   (NTSB)

After a couple was killed when their plane crashed into a snow-covered mountain in Alaska, their adult children found a silver lining. Cecilia Matter, 63, was suffering from cancer and didn't have much longer to live, they told KYUK at the time of the crash in December. It would have been devastating, they added, for her 62-year-old husband to live without her. After all, the couple was "inseparable." Their father, it seems, felt the same way. A final accident report released by the National Transportation Safety Board lists the probable cause of the crash as "the pilot's intentional flight of the airplane into terrain in an act of suicide," which resulted in the death of Cecilia Matter by manslaughter, reports the Alaska Dispatch News.

The report notes private pilot Mark Matter was at the controls of his 1949 Piper PA-11 airplane when it crashed on Marvel Dome, 40 miles south of their home in Aniak, not far from its intended destination near the couple's gold mine, on Dec. 15, 2016. There were "clear skies" at the time of the crash and no evidence of mechanical issues was found during a study of the wreckage, the report adds. There's no indication that the couple told anyone of their plans. "Dad couldn't function without Mom," one of their daughters said after the crash. "He couldn't fix himself meals or anything." Cecilia Matter, she added, "was the lifeline of the family." (A deadly plane crash on Saturday could be linked to weather.)

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