A helicopter carrying a pilot and three passengers who had been conducting field work for an Alaskan government agency crashed on Thursday night, killing all four people on board, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Saturday.
The wreckage of the helicopter, a Bell 206, was found in a large, shallow lake in an extremely remote area about 50 miles southwest of Utqiagvik, which is the northernmost community in the United States and home to about 5,100 residents.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash, the N.T.S.B. said.
The three state employees on board, whose names have not been released, worked for the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys and were conducting fieldwork near Utqiagvik, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources said on Facebook.
The department, which did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on Saturday, said that it had initiated a search-and-rescue effort on Thursday night after those on board the helicopter did not check in as expected.
It was not immediately clear if the victims’ bodies had been recovered.
A rescue and recovery dive team was deployed into the murky brown lake on Saturday, The Anchorage Daily News reported.
Maritime Helicopters, the company that operated the helicopter, said in a statement that “the entire Maritime family is deeply saddened by this tragedy and ask that you keep your thoughts and prayers” for the families who lost loved ones.
In April, two U.S. Army helicopters returning from a training flight crashed in Alaska with four people aboard, killing three soldiers and injuring the fourth, Army officials said.
In March 2021, five people, including the Czech Republic’s richest man at the time, were killed on a heli-skiing excursion after their chopper crashed near a glacier in Alaska, officials said.