The National Transportation Safety Board said on Saturday that the four people on board a helicopter that crashed on Thursday night while it was conducting fieldwork for an Alaskan government agency, the pilot, and three other passengers all perished.
The Bell 206 helicopter’s wreckage, was discovered in a big, shallow lake in a very isolated area about 50 miles southwest of Utqiagvik, the northernmost community in the United States with a population of around 5,100 people.
According to the NTSB, authorities are currently looking into what caused the collision.
The three state employees, whose names have not been made public, were performing fieldwork close to Utqiagvik for the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, according to a Facebook post from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
The tweet below confirms the news:
The department stated that it had started a search-and-rescue attempt on Thursday night after personnel on board the helicopter did not check in as scheduled. The department did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on Saturday.
It was unclear right first whether the bodies of the victims had been found.
The Anchorage Daily News said that a dive team for rescue and recovery was sent into the murky brown lake on Saturday.
The helicopter’s operator, Maritime Helicopters, issued a statement saying, “The entire Maritime family is deeply saddened by this tragedy and ask that you keep your thoughts and prayers” for the families of the deceased.
Three troops were killed and one was injured when two U.S. Army helicopters returning from a training mission crashed in Alaska in April, according to Army officials.
Five people died in a helicopter crash near an Alaskan glacier in March 2021 while on a heli-skiing expedition, including the richest man in the Czech Republic at the time, according to authorities.
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