Richest Czech Petr Kellner Dies In Helicopter Crash
Czech billionaire and businessman Petr Kellner died in a helicopter crash in Alaska on Saturday, along with four other people, as their chopper crashed near a glacier in the Alaskan mountains.“In his professional life he was known for his incredible work ethic and creativity, but his private life belonged to his family,” said Kellner’s PPF Group. Photo Credit: Freepik / Illustrative photo.
Czech Rep., Mar 29 (BD) – Czech billionaire and businessman Petr Kellner died on Saturday in a helicopter crash in the Alaskan mountains, the Alaskan police announced on Sunday afternoon. Foreign media spokeswoman Jitka Tkadlecová confirmed his death, and asked the public to respect the privacy of the Kellner family, as the funeral will take place in a close family circle. There were six people on board; five died, the sixth was hospitalized. Kellner, 56, was killed in the crash, along with fellow Czech Benjamin Larochaix; two guides, Gregory Harms and Sean McMannany; and the pilot, Zach Russel. The group was on a heli-skiing excursion when their chopper crashed near a glacier in the Alaskan mountains. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Minister of Interior Jan Hamáček were among the first Czech politicians to express condolences to the family on Twitter.
Kellner was on the Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter when it crashed near the Knik Glacier. Emergency officials were informed at 10pm on Saturday that the helicopter had not returned from an excursion, and that signs of a crash had been observed around Knik Glacier. Kellner was staying at a lodge offering weekly packages of accommodation and heli-skiing charters worth USD 15,000 per person, at which he was a frequent guest. Representatives from the lodge do not know what caused the crash, and stated that in 17 years of operation, this was the first such incident. Kellner’s company PPF Group said in a statement today that the crash is being investigated. “In his professional life he was known for his incredible work ethic and creativity, but his private life belonged to his family,” said PPF Group.
Kellner, who made his fortune in the 1990s, was the richest Czech, with personal wealth estimated at USD 17.5 billion by Forbes. His business was based on telecommunications, along with owning large shares of Česká Pojišťovna and Komerční banka. He also opened the way for Chinese investments in the Czech Republic through his connections with President Miloš Zeman, and has recently been working to expand his business in North America. He was married with four children.