2 Years After Billionaire's Death, His Widow Sues

Petr Kellner, 56, of Czech Republic died while on heli-skiing trip
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2021 9:40 AM CDT
Updated Apr 3, 2023 1:26 PM CDT
Czech Republic's Richest Man Dies in Alaska Helicopter Crash
In this Sunday, August 23, 2020 file photo, PPF's main shareholder Petr Kellner watches as his daughter Anna Kellnerova and horse Catch Me If You Can Old compete during the equestrian CET Prague Cup, CSIO Grand Prix, in Prague, Czech Republic.   (Associated Press)
UPDATE Apr 3, 2023 1:26 PM CDT

The investigation into the crash that killed Czech billionaire Petr Kellner in 2021 still hasn't been completed, but there is a new development: His heirs have sued over what happened in Alaska's backcountry during a heli-skiing trip. In a suit filed just ahead of the two-year statute of limitations running out, widow Renata Kellnerova and relatives are questioning whether there was "potential negligence" that either directly or indirectly caused the crash and whether there was also negligence among those who carried out the rescue mission, reports Bloomberg. The Daily Beast reports a separate filing from 2022 alleged that in addition to the sole passenger who survived, Kellner and another passenger were alive after the crash but perished prior to rescuers arriving at the scene.

Mar 29, 2021 9:40 AM CDT

A crash in Alaska's backcountry during a Saturday heli-skiing trip claimed five lives, including that of the Czech Republic's richest man. The AP reports Petr Kellner, 56, had a 98.93% stake in the global investment company PPF Group and a net worth pegged at $17.5 billion; Forbes had him as the 68th richest person in the world in 2020. Reuters says this of the 56-year-old: "Kellner avoided public attention but was known to be a keen skier. A picture of him snowboarding was published in an annual [PPF] report." Benjamin Larochaix, also of the Czech Republic, was also killed; the two were reportedly regular guests at the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.

Heli-ski guides Gregory Harms of Colorado and Sean McMannany of Alaska were also killed when the Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter went down near Knik Glacier northeast of Anchorage, as was pilot Zachary Russel. There was one unidentified survivor, also a guest of the lodge—said to be the longest operating heli-skiing lodge in the state and one whose weekly packages start at $15,000—who remains in serious but stable condition. Kellner is survived by wife Renata and four children, whom PPF referenced in a statement, per the New York Times: "His professional life was known for his incredible work ethic and creativity, but his private life belonged to his family." The cause of the crash is unknown; the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. (Read more helicopter crash stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.