Czech Republic’s Richest Person , 4 Others Die In Helicopter Crash ( Photos) «
Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, a friend of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, has been killed in a helicopter crash during a ski trip in Alaska.
State Troopers said five people including Kellner, 56, were killed and one injured when the Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter they were flying in came down near Knik Glacier northeast of Anchorage.
Billionaire Petr Kellner was
Kellner and his group had been on a heli-skiing trip which involves off-trail, downhill skiing, or snowboarding reached on remote slopes reached only by helicopter.
His company PPF said in a statement:
With great sadness, PPF announces that on March 27, 2021, majority shareholder of PPF Mr. Petr Kellner tragically passed away in a helicopter accident in the Alaskan mountains. The incident, in which 5 lives were lost, is under investigation.
Petr Kellner was 56 years old. His professional life was known for his incredible work ethic and creativity, but his private life belonged to his family. His funeral will be held with only close family members. We please ask the media to respect the privacy of the Kellner family during this difficult time.
We want to express our gratitude for the condolences, well wishes, and prayers expressed so far to the bereaved. The condolences can be sent by post to Office of Petr Kellner, Evropská 17, 160 00 Prague 6, Czech Republic, or via email email@example.com.
The National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
Kellner was a towering business figure of the Czech post-communist era, with his wealth estimated at £12.6billion ($17.5 bn) making him the country’s richest man, according to Forbes.
He was a friend of Chelsea owner Abramovich and reportedly wanted to buy a share in the football club in 2018.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, himself a billionaire, offered his condolences to the family.
“Unbelievable tragedy. I am so sorry. Sincere condolences to the whole family of Petr Kellner.”
Kellner’s roots go back to the 1990s when he set up PPF as an investment company with partners to take part in the country’s scheme to privatise hundreds of state-owned companies.
In the mid-1990s, PPF took a stake in former national insurer Ceska Pojistovna, a springboard for further growth.
PPF is the main owner of consumer lender Home Credit, which has grown in China and elsewhere in Southeast Asia as well as a group of telecommunications firms in central and eastern Europe including O2 Czech Republic.
His death came at a time when PPF was acquiring a stake in Czech bank MONETA Money Bank and proposing to merge it with his Air Bank and the Czech and Slovak assets of Home Credit.
PPF’s telecomunications infrastructure firm Cetin has also said it was considering a public offering and other options.
Billionaire Petr Kellner was just 56 when he died
Five people including Kellner were killed and one injured in a helicopter crash near Knik Glacier northeast of Anchorage
The group were flying in a Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter (file pic)
Kellner had avoided public attention but was known to be a keen skier.
According to the Alaska State Troopers, the five killed in the helicopter crash were identified as Gregory Harms, 52, of Colorado; Petr Kellner, 56, and Benjamin Larochaix, 50, both of the Czech Republic, and two Alaskans, Sean McMannany, 38, of Girdwood, and the pilot, Zachary Russel, 33, of Anchorage.
They added that another person onboard was in serious condition but stable on Sunday at an Anchorage hospital.
The five passengers included three guests and two guides from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.
She said that Harms was a pioneering heli-ski guide in Alaska and worked for many years at the lodge.
She said: “Greg was one of the most experienced guides in the business.”
He also founded a heli-ski company that led trips across the world.