Petr Kellner, a Czech billionaire and the founder of PPF Group NV, was killed in a helicopter crash in the Alaskan mountains.
Czech billionaire died in Alaska helicopter crash
According to PPF, the crash happened on Saturday and resulted in the deaths of four other people. According to Alaskan officials, the crash occurred near Knik Glacier, east of Anchorage. Kellner, who described heli-skiing as one of his favorite interests, was the wealthiest person in the Czech Republic, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a net worth of $15.7 billion.
PPF said its assets as of June 2020 totaled $52 billion, with companies in finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, media, and biotechnology, Bloomberg reported. Home Credit NV, a consumer-lending firm with China as its primary market, is its leading financial sector.
Before Kellner's death, the investment firm was working on two future acquisitions that would significantly affect the company. It has been in talks with Moneta Money Bank AS to sell its Czech and Slovak financial assets in a share swap that could allow PPF ownership of the Czech lender.
PPF is currently reviewing its telecommunication infrastructure subsidiary, Cetin Group BV, and may plan to sell a minority interest in the company directly or through the stock exchange. It was unclear if Kellner's death would impact these agreements right away.
Who was included in the Alaska helicopter crash?
According to officials, five people were killed in a helicopter crash in Alaska late Saturday, including one of Europe's wealthiest people, after the chopper went down on a backcountry heli-skiing flight. According to Forbes, Petr Kellner, the Czech Republic's richest resident, made his fortune selling office equipment before purchasing an interest in the country's largest insurance corporation. The news source ranked Kellner in the world's top 70 wealthiest individuals in 2020.
Rescuers rescued the bodies of Kellner and four others, including Gregory Harms, 52, of Colorado, Sean McManamy, 38, of Girdwood, Ala., Benjamin Larochaix, 50, of the Czech Republic, and Zachary Russell, 33, of Anchorage, who was piloting the chopper, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety.
As of late Sunday night local time, a sixth person was in critical but stable condition and treated at a hospital in the Anchorage area. A search party identified no other survivors. The rescue team was sent to retrieve the Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter near Knik Glacier, about 60 miles northwest of Anchorage, about 10 PM local time on Saturday night, officials said.
A spokesperson for Soloy Helicopters confirmed to The Washington Post that Russell worked for the group. The helicopter belonged to a Wasilla-based company, as per the officials. The Alaska Department of Public Safety said the National Transportation Safety Board would review the incident.