Anchorage, Alaska (AP) —The wreckage of a helicopter that crashed last weekend and killed five people must be lifted from the mountains by the company that owns it, a US investigator said.
An Airbus AS350BB helicopter crashed on Saturday near the Nick Glacier north of Anchorage, killing pilots and four passengers, including the wealthiest in the Czech Republic. There was one survivor.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a crash on rugged terrain that is only accessible by helicopter, just north of Anchorage. According to Tom Chapman, a member of the NTSB’s board of directors, the downed helicopter is owned and operated by Wasilla’s Soli helicopter.
Clint Johnson, head of the agency’s Alaska division, said Soli’s insurance company was responsible for lifting the wreckage off the mountain in the hope that it would be handed over to investigators.
He said he was expected to leave the mountains by the weekend if the weather was nice.
The helicopter appears to have collided with a mountain 10 to 15 feet (3.05 to 4.57 meters) below the ridgeline at an altitude of about 5,500 feet (1,676 meters). The helicopter then rolled 800-900 feet (244-274 meters) downhill, Chapman said.
According to Chapman, the last satellite-based signal broadcast from the helicopter was at 6:34 pm. The helicopter was reported to have been overdue at 8:30 pm, with two guides and three guests on a heli-skiing adventure trip from Toldo Mountain Lodge. A search for the aircraft found it after an hour.
Volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and the Alaska National Guard recovered their bodies on Sunday prior to the expected storm.
Some of the items investigated by federal agents include why the aircraft was not reported two hours late, weather conditions, pilot experience and history, and helicopter airworthiness.
A half-day heli-skiing flight was arranged through a lodge contracted with a Soli helicopter for an excursion. Packages start at $ 15,000 per person.
The helicopter had to submit a flight plan or use electronics to allow authorities to track the aircraft.
“Soloy Helicopters would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family members who died in the March 27 accident in Alaska, including their dear colleagues who died in the accident,” said a previous company statement. I will. “Safety is our number one priority and we are based in the spirit of working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other local authorities as the investigation into this accident continues.”
A Soli spokesman said the company had no additional comments as the crash was under investigation.
The frequent guests killed in the crash were Czech Republic billionaire Petr Kellner (56) and Czech Republic Benjamin Larochaix (50). Colorado guide Gregory Harms, 52, was also killed. According to Troopers, Alaska, two Girdwood Sean McManamy (38) and Anchorage pilot Zachary Russell (33) live in Alaska.
The survivor was David Holbus, 48, also from the Czech Republic. He was seriously listed at the Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage on Wednesday.
Lieutenant Colonel Keenan Zerkel, Lieutenant Colonel of the Alaska Air Force, said the director of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center said Holbus was found alive in the helicopter when the rescue team arrived around 12:30 am on Sunday.