Alaska News

Helicopter crashes on Norris Glacier in Southeast, injuring pilot

A helicopter crashed on Norris Glacier in Southeast Alaska, injuring its sole occupant, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

A distress beacon for an Era helicopter was detected at 2:14 p.m. and the company called to confirm it was one of its aircraft before Coast Guard officials picked up the phone, said Chief Petty Officer Joshua Ryan, with District 17 Command.

Ryan said the crash happened within sight of a sled dog camp. Two people at the camp went to the crash site and pulled the pilot -- identified by Alaska State Troopers as 39-year-old Jiri Hanis -- out of the helicopter, he said.

According to the rescuers, Hanis complained of chest pain and is believed to have suffered broken ribs, Ryan said.

Juneau police, fire and rescue officials responded, along with Temsco Helicopters, which landed another helicopter near the site of the crash and flew Hanis to Juneau's Bartlett Regional Hospital, he said.

Ryan did not have any information on how the crash occurred, but witnesses told the Coast Guard visibility was poor.

National Weather Service forecaster Edward Liske ?in Juneau said the weather in the area has been rainy for the past 24 hours. Southeast winds of 10 to 15 mph have been measured, with gusts up to 20 mph in some spots, he said.

Era primarily transports oil and gas employees to work sites but also offers flightseeing tours in the region.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.