Ski Guide & Czech Republic's Richest Man Amongst 5 Killed In Heli Ski Crash

On March 27, 2021, at approximately 2200 hours, Alaska State Troopers were notified of an overdue helicopter and the location of possible crash debris in the area of Knik Glacier. The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center dispatched a rescue team who located the crash site. The rescuers found a sole survivor at the crash site and transported the individual for medical care; the survivor is currently in serious but stable condition. Five other occupants of the helicopter were found deceased. The Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Army National Guard, and Alaska Mountain Rescue Group will attempt recovery efforts at the crash site today. The NTSB will be conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash. 

The Alaska Army National Guard and volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group have recovered the deceased from the helicopter crash site near Knik Glacier. Next of kin for the deceased have been notified, and they are identified as: 

  • 52-year-old Colorado resident Gregory Harms
  • 56-year-old Czech Republic resident Petr Kellner
  • 50-year-old Czech Republic resident Benjamin Larochaix
  • 38-year-old Girdwood, Alaska resident Sean McManamy
  • 33-year-old Anchorage, Alaska resident Zachary Russell (pilot) 

The injured passenger remains in serious but stable condition and is receiving medical care at an Anchorage area hospital. The survivor is identified as 48-year-old Czech Republic resident David Horvath.

Petr Kellner, the Czech Republic's richest person, was among the five people who died in a heli-skiing accident in the Alaskan mountains near Knik Glacier on Saturday. Kellner founded investment firm PPF Group, which on Sunday morning confirmed his passing at the age of 56.

Kellner was a self-made billionaire who began his career by selling office supplies, before embarking on an investment fund by borrowing $1 million against an office-supplies business. Petr Kellner ) was a Czech billionaire entrepreneur, founder and majority shareholder (98.93 %) of the PPF Group. At the time of his death, he had an estimated net worth of $17.5 billion, making him the wealthiest person in the Czech Republic.

The guide, Greg Harms, was a longtime ski pro at Aspen Mountain and heli-ski guide,. The Aspen Skiing Co. sent out an email that said in part: “… all of us who experienced Greg’s incredible ability to inspire us and make every person he connected with feel valued and important. Together we will embrace our sadness and move forward as Greg would want us to.”

Harms was a pioneering heli-ski guide in Alaska and worked at the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge for many years.

The helicopter was an Airbus AS350B3 owned by Soloy Helicopters of Wasilla, Alaska. The group is believed to have been heliskiing in the area. The NTSB will conduct an investigation into the cause of the crash. The deceased have been turned over to the Alaska State Medical Examiner. The Temporary Flight Restriction that was in place over the Knik Glacier area has been lifted.

The Alaska State Troopers would like to thank the volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and our partners at the Alaska Army National Guard for their assistance in the recovery operations.

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