News & Opinion | March 29, 2021 3:20 pm

Helicopter Crash on Heli-Ski Trip Claims Five Lives, Including Billionaire Petr Kellner

Kellner, 56, was the richest person in the Czech Republic

Knik Glacier in Alaska photographed from above during the day
The Knik Glacier in Alaska.
Orjan F. Ellingvag/Corbis via Getty Images

On Saturday, a group of skiers set out for a planned heli-skiing expedition on Knik Glacier in Alaska. Unfortunately, they never reached their destination. Late that night, authorities discovered a crash site and the bodies of five men; another passenger on the helicopter was hospitalized in serious condition.

An article by Neil Vigdor and Livia Albeck-Ripka at The New York Times offers more information on the crash and its aftermath, including the news that one of the men killed in the crash was billionaire Petr Kellner, at the time of his death the richest person in the Czech Republic. The 56-year-old was the founder and chief shareholder of PPF, a financial and investment group which he founded in 1991.

As the Times notes, heli-skiing has become a favorite pastime of some with plenty of money to spend and a willingness to venture into unforgiving conditions. Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, where Kellner had been staying, offers heli-skiing packages starting at $15,000 per person. According to the article, he had been a guest at the resort many times in the past.

The lodge does not yet know what the cause of the crash was, and the company that operated the helicopter has not yet provided a comment to the media.

This tragedy is also the latest high-profile example of a deadly helicopter crash. In the last few years, crashes have also taken the lives of Kobe Bryant and Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

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