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Czech Republic richest man Kellner dies in helicopter crash

Czech Republic Richest Man Kellner Dies In Helicopter Crash

Petr Kellner, Czech Republic richest man has been identified as one of the five persons who died in a helicopter crash in Alaska on Saturday.

The contracted helicopter carrying guides and guests from a lodge on a heli-skiing trip in Southcentral Alaska’s backcountry crashed Saturday evening.

It killed the pilot, Kellner and three others, Anchorage Daily News reported.

The only other person onboard was in serious but stable condition Sunday night at an Anchorage hospital, Alaska State Troopers said.

Here is the report by Anchorage Daily News:

The four others killed in the crash were identified as Gregory Harms, 52, of Colorado; Benjamin Larochaix, 50, of the Czech Republic; and two Alaskans, Sean McMannany, 38, of Girdwood, and the pilot, Zachary Russel, 33, of Anchorage.

The five passengers included three guests and two guides from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, said lodge spokeswoman Mary Ann Pruitt.

The surviving guest’s name has not yet been made public.

Kellner was a billionaire businessman and financier with a net worth over $17 billion, according to the Forbes 2020 list of the world’s richest people

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Kellner and Larochaix “were loyal and frequent” guests at the lodge, Pruitt said in an email to the Associated Press.

Harms was a pioneering heli-ski guide in Alaska and worked for many years at the lodge, Pruitt said. “Greg was one of the most experienced guides in the business,” she said. He also founded a heli-ski company that led trips across the world.

McMannany had been a guide for over 10 years, and was with the lodge for the last five, she said. He was also an avalanche instructor and an experienced mountain guide on Denali, North America’s tallest peak.

Russel was a pilot for Soloy Helicopters, a Wasilla-based company that is contracted by the lodge to provide transportation, Pruitt said.

“This news is devastating to our staff, the community in which we operate and the families of the deceased,” a statement released by the lodge said.

The Eurocopter AS50 crashed at 6:35 p.m. Saturday under unknown circumstances near Knik Glacier, about 50 miles northeast of Anchorage and about 21 miles southeast of Palmer, said Clint Johnson, chief of the Alaska office of the National Transportation Safety Board, which will investigate the crash.

File Photo: Petr Kellner, richest man in Czech Republic

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