Woman who died in plane crash on glacier flight was flight attendant, cancer survivor working on commercial pilot’s license


The woman who died in a Knik Glacier plane crash on Monday was a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant who was working toward her commercial pilot’s license.

Her 23-year-old pilot instructor Dakota Bauder of Anchorage also died in the accident of the single-engine Cessna 172. Both had private pilots licenses, and Bauder had his commercial license, Must Read Alaska has learned. He was a  multi-engine instructor.

Vierra also had her helicopter pilot’s license. It’s is unclear who was is command of the aircraft at the time of the crash. NTSB, the lead investigative agency, is in charge of sorting out the cause.

Angel Aviation Flight School out of Arizona and Alaska was the owner of the Cessna. In Alaska, the company operates out of Merrill Field.

Dakota Bauder from his Instagram page

McKenna Vierra, 27, was a cancer survivor who had beaten Large Type B Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma with months of chemotherapy, according to her family. On July 26, she and Bauder were flying over the Knik Glacier on a discovery flight, when the accident occurred. Vierra was a prospective student for Angel Aviation Flight School.

Her mother, Liane Vierra, told KHON in Honolulu that her daughter’s journey to beat cancer inspired many others.

“She was going through treatments beginning August of last year but during the times when she felt OK with treatment, she went ahead and got her instrument license,” Liane Vierra said. “And so as you can see nothing will stop her.”

Vierra beat cancer within months of her diagnosis. She worked as a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant for four years.

“The pilot’s wife informed us the news, and it was shocking, you know, our hearts were crushed, for a moment there we just sat in disbelief,” Liane Vierra said to the news station. “I don’t know how to describe the feeling but it’s something that you never want to hear.”

Alaska State Troopers said the bodies were discovered by good samaritans on Monday and recovered by Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and HELO 3 from a steep, mountainous area of Eagle River Valley.

Dakota Bauder is the son of Alaska Airlines pilot Brock Bauder and Patricia Bauder, of Sitka. Dakota fell in love with his wife Sierra Sage-Bauder while he was still in grade school and the two married after they graduated from high school.

Both Bauder and Vierra came from deeply Christian backgrounds.

“We have no regrets, we have no bitterness, we have no blame,” Vierra’s mother said to KHON. “It is unfortunate that it happened but I know that’s where she wanted to be.”

A GoFundMe page was set up by her family to pay for Vierra’s remains to be returned to Hawaii and funeral arrangements. It noted that McKenna “succeeded in her chemotherapy, finally to being cancer free. Her hard work and strength were heavily influenced by her relationship with God. My niece genuinely devoted her life to our father and lived by grace till she went home. 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. We need your help in bringing McKenna home so we can have her services to put her to rest.”


  1. So sad.. wonder when the faa is going to step into Alaska and put an end to these senseless crashes.

    • Andrew WTF!!
      Are you a…
      “The government needs to protect us” type of person??
      I certainly hope not
      It’s sad they died. They were human beings exercising their FREE WILL. What the hell should they have done? Got permission from a 3 letter govt agency to fly that fateful day.
      Sorry if I misconstrued the intent of you comment but somehow I think I did not

      • Yeah, this is a libertarian congregative setting. Mr. Pusser speaks the truth. The only gov intervention should/could be disclosure. Have them sign a form disclosing plainly, they understand they take their lives into their hands. If they feel it’s a chance well worth it, that is their decision.

        Also publications like this are needed for the masses, let people know these things happen to better give encompassing decision making.

        Mature minds have the competency to make these decisions. Only authoritarian leftists would argue they don’t.

    • Characterizing this crash as senseless is premature. The investigation has only just begun and will not be complete for some time; it is inappropriate to speculate before then.

      To your point, though, what exactly would you suggest the FAA do? Change the weather? Make the mountains shorter?

  2. Inexperience and cockiness are the biggest contributors of airplane crashes. Next, are mechanical failure or weather. Not saying what happened here, but pilots should always check their egos before they hit the ignition switch.

  3. Amazing words by the young girl’s mother. True faith. God bless all those left behind. Too young to leave this world.

  4. Andrew and Maverick:
    Must be nice to be perfect and never have made a mistake. I suppose you think it gives you the right to make such insensitive comments.
    You might possibly benefit, by again, reading Vierra’s Mother’s comment.
    “ We have no regrets, we have no bitterness, we have no blame”.
    She deserves better than your unkind remarks.

  5. Wow mad groups of people… I don’t think the faa is capable of lowering mountains or changing weather. But they are capable of imposing regulations that help people make the proper decisions on when and when not it’s safe to fly. Name calling is just weird because a guy states his opinion. You sound like my democratic neighbors, if someone has a different view just blast him with how stupid he is. Nice work.

    • Andrew you truly don’t deserve the firestorm of name calling that has befell you.
      I think you have a good idea there.
      We could have the DOT issue regulations not to commute into to work on the Glenn Highway when It’s snowy and icy
      I’m sure employers would understand and not fire people for not coming to work. The clerks in retail could work from the safety of their home.?
      BTW your opinion is stoopid. And you are a poopy head… that’s my opinion. So don’t call me a big meany

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