This photo provided by North Slope Borough shows an aerial view of a shallow lake where a helicopter crashed on Alaska’s North Slope near Utqiagvik on Thursday. A North Slope Borough search and rescue team in a helicopter found debris matching the description of the missing helicopter, but officials said no bodies of the pilot or three passengers had been seen or recovered. (North Slope Borough via AP)

This photo provided by North Slope Borough shows an aerial view of a shallow lake where a helicopter crashed on Alaska’s North Slope near Utqiagvik on Thursday. A North Slope Borough search and rescue team in a helicopter found debris matching the description of the missing helicopter, but officials said no bodies of the pilot or three passengers had been seen or recovered. (North Slope Borough via AP)

Helicopter carrying state workers crashes into remote Alaska lake, no survivors found, officials say

  • By Mark Thiessen Associated Press
  • Friday, July 21, 2023 5:29pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE — No survivors were found after a helicopter carrying a pilot and three state workers crashed in a shallow lake in Alaska’s North Slope region, officials said Friday.

The helicopter had been chartered by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the department said in a statement Friday. It was carrying three employees from the Division of Geological and Geophysical Survey who had been conducting field work.

“DNR is praying for our employees and the pilot, their families, and the DNR team,” the statement said. “We are continuing to await updates from the search and rescue effort.”

The helicopter, a Bell 206, was reported overdue 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 near Wainwright, about 50 miles south to southwest of Utqiagvik, the northernmost city in the U.S., formerly known as Barrow.

The flight originated in Utqiagvik and was supposed to return there, said Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska region. Johnson said he did not immediately have further information on the flight details.

The helicopter was operated by Maritime Helicopters Inc., according to a statement on the company’s website. It confirmed the accident was fatal and said names of the pilot and passengers would be released pending notification of next of kin.

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.

• Associated Press writer Becky Bohrer in Juneau contributed.

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