21 July 2023
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — No survivors were found after a helicopter carrying four people crashed in a shallow lake in Alaska’s North Slope region, officials said Friday.
The helicopter had been chartered by a government agency, according to the company that operated the flight. It was reported overdue late Thursday night.
A North Slope Borough search and rescue team in a helicopter found debris matching the description of the missing helicopter, but no bodies had been seen or recovered, D.J. Fauske, the borough’s director of government and external affairs, said in a text to The Associated Press on Friday.
The wreckage was found in a shallow lake about 50 miles south to southwest of Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow and the northernmost city in the U.S., said Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska region. The flight originated in Utqiagvik and was supposed to return there, Johnson said, but he did not immediately have further information on the flight details.
The borough notified the Federal Aviation Administration and state officials as well as NTSB, Fauske said.
“The borough is here to help and we will pray for the missing,” he said.
The helicopter was operated by Maritime Helicopters Inc., according to a statement on its website. It confirmed the accident and said names of the pilot and passengers would be released pending notification of next of kin.
It was not immediately known what agency had chartered the flight.
The Alaska governor’s office referred questions to the state departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Game, neither of which immediately responded to requests for information.