Richest Czech man among five killed in Alaska helicopter crash

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA (AP) — A contracted helicopter carrying guides and guests from a lodge on a heli-skiing trip in Alaska’s backcountry crashed, killing the pilot and four others, including the Czech Republic’s richest man.

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

The five killed in the Saturday accident were identified as Gregory Harms, 52, of Colorado; Petr Kellner, 56, and Benjamin Larochaix, 50, both of the Czech Republic, and two Alaskans, Sean McMannany, 38, of Girdwood, and the pilot, Zachary Russel, 33, of Anchorage, troopers said on Sunday.

The five passengers included three guests and two guides from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, said company spokesperson Mary Ann Pruitt. Kellner was a billionaire businessman and financier with a net worth over USD17 billion, according to the Forbes 2020 list of the world’s richest people.

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.