Czech Billionaire Is Among 5 Killed in Heli-Skiing Crash Near Alaska Glacier

Czech Billionaire Is Among 5 Killed in Heli-Skiing Crash Near Alaska Glacier
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Czech Billionaire Is Among 5 Killed in Heli-Skiing Crash Near Alaska Glacier

Czech Billionaire Is Among 5 Killed in Heli-Skiing Crash Near Alaska Glacier


5 folks, together with the Czech Republic’s richest man, had been killed on a heli-skiing tour on Saturday when their chopper crashed close to a glacier in Alaska, officers stated.

The Czech billionaire, Petr Kellner, whose internet value has been estimated at $17.5 billion by Forbes, was aboard the Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter when it went down close to Knik Glacier, the lodge that chartered the plane stated on Sunday.

Mr. Kellner, 56, was killed, together with one other visitor of the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, Benjamin Larochaix, additionally of the Czech Republic; two of the lodge’s guides, Gregory Harms and Sean McMannany; and the helicopter’s pilot, Zach Russel, officers stated.

One survivor was listed in severe however steady situation, in accordance with the Alaska State Troopers, which stated that the Nationwide Transportation Security Board would conduct an investigation to find out what brought on the crash. Emergency responders stated they had been notified at 10 p.m. on Saturday that the helicopter had not returned from an tour and that particles from a crash had been noticed close to Knik Glacier.


The accident was the newest misadventure for an excessive sport with little margin for error that has develop into a magnet for thrill seekers. Flights to distant mountains, playgrounds of untouched powder, are recognized for his or her steep worth tags and threat.

The lodge, which presents weekly packages of $15,000 per individual for shared lodging and heli-skiing charters, expressed its sorrow concerning the crash in an announcement on Sunday evening.

“This information is devastating to our employees, the group in which we function and the households of the deceased,” the lodge stated. “In 17 years of operations that is the primary time we’ve needed to face an occasion of this measure.”

A consultant for the lodge, which is in Judd Lake, Alaska, stated she didn’t know what brought on the crash. Officers stated the helicopter was operated by Soloy Helicopters in Wasilla, which didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The lodge confirmed that it had chartered the flight.

In accordance with the lodge, Mr. Kellner was a frequent visitor and pal of the resort.

Mr. Kellner made his first fortune in the Nineties after beginning an funding fund, which he used to purchase a controlling stake in the nation’s largest insurance coverage firm.


In October, he acquired a significant European broadcast community, Central European Media Enterprises, for $1.1 billion, elevating considerations in the Czech Republic that the community may lose independence. However in an announcement launched on the time, Mr. Kellner stated the acquisition was pushed by “a way of duty” and vowed that the community would retain its objectivity.

His funding firm, PPF Group, has additionally donated hundreds of thousands of respirators and masks and hundreds of coronavirus testing kits and swabs to assist the Czech Republic in the pandemic, the Czech information media reported.

He was married with 4 kids, in accordance with his firm’s web site.

In accordance with the lodge, Mr. Harms, 52, was a pioneering information in the Alaskan heli-skiing group and operated his personal tour enterprise, Third Edge Heli. Mr. McMannany, 38, had been a information for greater than 10 years and was an avalanche teacher, the lodge stated.

Particulars about Mr. Larochaix, 50, and Mr. Russel, 33, the pilot, weren’t instantly accessible.

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