The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating after five died and one was seriously injured following the crash of an Airbus Helicopters AS350B3e AStar on Saturday in Alaska. The helicopter went down near the Knik Glacier near Palmer at an estimated elevation of 5,000 to 6,000 feet. Weather at the time at Palmer (KPAQ, 242 feet msl) was reported as wind of five knots, broken clouds at 6,500 feet agl, and 10 miles visibility.
Operated for Tordrillo Mountain Lodge at Judd Lake by Soloy Helicopters of Wasilla, Alaska, the AStar was being used to support heli-skiing. In a prepared statement issued yesterday, the lodge said this was its first “event of this measure” in 17 years of operation.
The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center responded to the crash site late Saturday evening after the helicopter was reported missing. An FAA-imposed temporary flight restriction (TFR) was established above the crash site, but it expired yesterday. Among the dead were the pilot, both ski guides, and two passengers, including Czech billionaire Petr Kellner.