Five Killed in Helicopter Crash in Alaska, Czech Billionaire Owner of bTV among Victims
A helicopter crash in Alaska left five people dead late on Saturday, including one of the richest people in Europe, after the chopper went down during what authorities say was likely a backcountry heli-skiing trip.
Among the victims was Petr Kellner, the Czech Republic’s richest resident, who made his fortune selling office supplies and then buying a stake in the nation’s largest insurance company, according to Forbes. The news site placed him among the 70 richest people in the world in 2020, with a net worth of .5 billion.
The Alaska Department of Public Safety said rescuers had recovered the bodies of Kellner and four others: Gregory Harms, 52, of Colorado, Benjamin Larochaix, 50, of the Czech Republic, Sean McManamy, 38, of Girdwood, Ala., and Zachary Russell, 33, of Anchorage, who was piloting the chopper.
A sixth person, who has not been named as of late Sunday night local time, was in serious but stable condition and being treated at a hospital in the Anchorage area. A rescue team found no other survivors.
Authorities said that the rescue team was sent to recover the Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter around 10 p.m. local time on Saturday night near Knik Glacier, about 60 miles northwest of Anchorage.
Russell was employed by Soloy Helicopters, a spokesperson from the company confirmed to The Washington Post. Officials said the Wasilla-based outfit owned the helicopter.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety.
Kellner's investment fund PPF Group N.V. bought Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) via its subsidiaries, as in Bulgaria CME is the owner of bTV. The sale was effected last autumn.
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