A contracted helicopter Eurocopter AS 350 carrying guides and guests from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge (located about 60 miles northwest of Anchorage) on a heli-skiing trip in Alaska’s backcountry crashed Saturday night, killing the pilot and four others. The crash site was near Knik Glacier. A rescue team from Alaska Rescue Coordination Center was dispatched to the crash site. The Alaska Army National Guard and volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group also participated. A single person was saved and sent in serious condition to a hospital. The victims were aged between 33 and 56.
The oldest, 56-year-old billionaire Petr Kellner, was the Czech Republic’s richest man. Greg Harms, a longtime ski pro at Aspen Mountain and world-renowned heli-ski guide, a pioneering heli-ski guide in Alaska, also died in the accident. The owner of the helicopter was Soloy Helicopters, a Wasilla-based company. It has a fleet of 19 helicopters providing charter services primarily in Alaska. The company also provides support to government and industry, specializing in work for seismic oil drilling exploration programs. Packages for helicopter ride start at $15,000 per person. The statement from lodge said this was the first time in its 17 years in business “we’ve had to face an event of this measure.”