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Wealthiest person in Czech Republic killed in Alaska helicopter crash

Petr Kellner, the wealthiest person in the Czech Republic and the founder of investment group PPF, was one of five people killed when their helicopter crashed on a skiing trip in Alaska.

Kellner, 56, was among the passengers and pilot killed on Saturday (March 27) in the crash near Knik Glacier northeast of Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers said.

One survivor was air lifted to hospital, they said, adding the group had been on a heli-ski tour.

There was no information on the cause of the crash. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials are investigating.

Kellner avoided public attention but was known to be a keen skier. A picture of him snowboarding was published in one PPF annual report.

The company in a statement expressed “deepest grief” at the death of its founder. He is survived by his wife Renata and four children.

Kellner was a towering figure in the Czech Republic’s post-communist era, amassing wealth estimated at $17.5 billion according to Forbes.

He started out selling copy machines as the country opened up following the 1989 Velvet Revolution. He set up PPF with partners for the country’s privatisation program.

(Production: Kia Johnson

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