Helicopter crashes on Alaska glacier, killing 5 people and injuring 1

Anchorage — Alaska State Police said Sunday that a helicopter crash on a glacier near Anchorage killed five people and injured one.

Investigators found the crash site and survivors late Saturday night after reports of Chopper’s delinquency, soldiers said in a statement. The injured were reported to be in a serious but stable condition.

The helicopter was carrying skiers on a backcountry tour by ferry, soldiers said. Petr Kellner, 56, and Benjamin Larochaix, 50, of the Czech Republic were killed. Gregory Harms, Colorado, 52 years old. Sean McManami, 38, and pilot Zachary Russell, 33, said the soldiers. Survivors who were not identified late Sunday were hospitalized, Trooper said.

The crash site was near Nick Glacier, northeast of Anchorage. The helicopter was an Airbus AS350B3 owned by the Soli helicopter in Wasilla, Alaska, soldiers said.

The bodies of the victims were recovered on Sunday by Alaska Army National Guard and volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, Trooper said. The bodies were handed over to state inspectors, soldiers said. Temporary flight restrictions imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration were lifted late Sunday.

Soldiers said the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate the crash.

The Knick Glacier in the northern part of the Chugach Mountains is a destination for sightseeing flights, hiking and boat tours in the summer. The crash site is near the 28-mile glacier Nick River spill, according to a map provided by soldiers.

The Knick Glacier and other glaciers in the area are the sites of numerous military and civilian aviation accidents over decades.

Another backcountry skier was killed this weekend in another accident in the same common area. Erin Lee, 40, of Fairbanks died Saturday after being buried in an avalanche near the Matanuska Glacier, also northeast of Anchorage.

By Yereth Rosen