Four Bodies Recovered from Alaska Helicopter Crash in Lake


On Sunday, search and rescue divers in Alaska recovered the bodies of a helicopter pilot and three scientists from the submerged wreckage of their aircraft, which crashed into a shallow lake on the North Slope last week, according to authorities.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the accident’s cause.

Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska region, stated that another helicopter will be required to retrieve the wreckage because it is located in the center of one of the extensive tundra’s numerous lakes.

“In Alaska, during the fire season, commercial helicopters are in short supply, so we’re having trouble acquiring one for the job,” he said on Sunday.

The North Slope Police Department identified the deceased as Ronald Daanen, 51, of Fairbanks, Justin Germann, 27, of Fairbanks, Tori Moore, 26, of South Bend, Indiana, and pilot Bernard “Tony” Higdon, 48, of North Pole, Alaska.

On Thursday, a Bell 206 helicopter manufactured in 1996 crashed while transporting Alaska Department of Natural Resources field workers. They belonged to the Geological and Geophysical Survey Division. Maritime Helicopters owned the helicopter.

The wreckage was discovered near the small coastal community of Wainwright, which is about 50 miles (80 kilometres) south of Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, the northernmost metropolis in the United States. The flight was intended to originate in Utqiagvik and return there.

The Alaska Dive Search, Rescue, and Recovery Team volunteers arrived at the collision site at 10:45 p.m. on Saturday and recovered the bodies at 6am on Sunday.

Due to a shortage of available helicopters, the aircraft will likely not be recovered from the middle of the 1-mile-wide (1.6-kilometer-wide) lake until Monday or Tuesday.


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