Stewardess retraining to be a pilot after cancer scare dies in plane crash

Hawaiian Airlines paid tribute to the 27-year-old who was recently told she was ‘cancer free’

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 29 July 2021 16:46
<p>McKenna Vierra, who died in a plane crash in Alaska </p>

McKenna Vierra, who died in a plane crash in Alaska

A 27-year-old air stewardess who was retraining as a pilot after a cancer scare has died after she was involved in a plane crash, according to reports.

McKenna Naheana Vierra was flying in a Cessna plane in Alaska on Monday when she crashed with her instructor, Dakota Bauder, who also died in the incident, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety, State Troopers and Anchorage Daily News.

Ms Vierra allegedly took off from Merrill Field airport in Anchorage and crashed between 11am and 1pm. After the flight was reported missing on Monday, an airborne searcher found the location of the wreckage at about 10.45pm, it was reported.

The bodies of Ms Vierra and Ms Bauder were recovered from the crash site on Tuesday, in Alaska’s Upper Eagle River Valley. The terrain was described as steep and mountainous, and volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group were reportedly helping the recovery on Tuesday.

Ms Vierra, of Hawaii, had recently been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that begins in the body’s immune system. Her family wrote in a fundraiser page on GoFundMe that she wanted to retrain to be a pilot after recovering through chemotherapy.

“McKenna was a beautiful person inside and out,” her aunt, Parrish Cummings, wrote on the fundraiser. “While working for Hawaiian airlines she started to pursue her career by working towards getting her Helicopter and plane license to become a pilot.”

She added: “McKenna was a free spirit and sweet soul. She lived her life to the fullest and didn’t let anything stop her from achieving what God had destined for her journey through her life. This was tragic moment for everyone.”

Robin Sparling, a vice president at Hawaiian Airlines, told the Stara Advertiser that Ms Vierra had worked for the airline since November 2016.

He said in a statement: “We will remember her beautiful smile, amazing personality and steadfast faith. Our hearts are with McKenna’s family during this sad and difficult time”.

More than $13,000 (£9,300) has been raised on the GoFundMe page, and officials from the Federal Aviation Authority are reportedly involved in an investigation. It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

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