Five killed, one hurt as helicopter crashes at Alaska glacier
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By Yereth Rosen
ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - Five people were killed and one injured in a helicopter crash at a glacier near Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers said on Sunday.
Searchers found the crash site and survivor late Saturday night after the chopper was reported overdue, the troopers said in a written statement. The injured person was reported to be in serious but stable condition.
The helicopter was ferrying skiers who had been on a backcountry tour, the troopers said. Killed were Petr Kellner, 56, and Benjamin Larochaix, 50, both of the Czech Republic; Gregory Harms, 52, of Colorado; Sean McManamy, 38, and pilot Zachary Russell, 33, the troopers said. The survivor, who was not identified late Sunday, was hospitalized, the trooper said.
The crash site was near Knik Glacier northeast of Anchorage. The helicopter was an Airbus AS350B3 owned by Soloy Helicopters of Wasilla, Alaska, the troopers said.
The victims’ bodies were recovered Sunday by the Alaska Army National Guard and volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, the trooper said. The remains have been turned over to the state medical examiner, the troopers said. A temporary flight restriction imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration was lifted late Sunday.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, the troopers said.
Knik Glacier, in the northern Chugach Mountains, is a destination for sightseeing flights and, in summer, hiking and boating tours. The crash site is near the Knik River outflow of the 28-mile glacier, according to a map provided by the troopers.
Knik Glacier and other glaciers in the area have been the sites of numerous military and civilian air crashes over several decades.
Another backcountry skier was killed this weekend in a separate accident in the same general area. Erin Lee, 40, of Fairbanks died Saturday after being buried in an avalanche near Matanuska Glacier, also northeast of Anchorage.
(Reporting by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Gerry Doyle)
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