3 State Workers, Pilot Presumed Dead After Helicopter Crashes Into Lake

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John Oyewale Contributor
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A chartered helicopter with a pilot and three state workers on board crashed Thursday night near Utqiaġvik, Alaska, according to official reports.

The workers were employees of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Survey and were conducting fieldwork in the vicinity of Utqiaġvik, according to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR). A coordinated search-and-rescue effort initiated by the Alaska DNR “found helicopter debris in a lake matching the description of the overdue aircraft.”

No survivors were found as of Saturday, as the crash is “presumed fatal,” the Associated Press (AP) reported. The wreckage of the helicopter was reportedly found in a lake near Wainwright, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Utqiaġvik. Though shallow, the lake is reportedly very large, and Utqiaġvik, formerly Barrow, is the northernmost city in the United States. (RELATED: Two People Survive Helicopter Crash Into Lake)

Maritime Helicopters, Inc., owners of the ill-fated Bell 206 L4 helicopter, confirmed the crash, stating it was “deeply saddened by this tragedy” and that the “[n]ames of the crew and passengers will be released pending notification of next of kin.”

“The four occupants remain missing, and are presumed dead,” said Clint Johnson, the chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) Alaska region Saturday, per the Anchorage Daily News.

The NTSB tweeted Friday that an investigation into the crash had commenced.