A Skagway helicopter pilot is dead following a crash outside Skagway on Friday evening. The pilot was 59-year-old Christopher Maggio of Skagway. Maggio was the only person on board.
According to an Alaska State Trooper report, the U.S. Coast Guard contacted troopers Friday evening around 8:30 to report that a helicopter had gone down near the upper portion of the Denver Glacier, six miles east of Skagway.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Sitka was dispatched to locate the crash site and confirmed the pilot was deceased. Skagway Search and Rescue recovered Maggio on Saturday afternoon. Maggio’s remains will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for an autopsy. Next of kin have been notified.
This is the second Southeast helicopter crash this week.
Tim DeSpain is a public information officer for the troopers. He said Saturday that the helicopter was returning to the Skagway base from the glacier dog camp, after dropping off supplies, when it went down.
The National Weather Service called for cloudy, windy conditions Friday afternoon and evening. Wind gusts were estimated at around 40 miles per hour. The cause of the crash is unknown.
According to Joe Hicks, Temsco’s senior vice president, the pilot was overdue from his supply drop as of 7 p.m. Friday. He said another Temsco helicopter was launched at 7:12 p.m. from Skagway, and at 8 p.m. the aircraft was located and the Coast Guard notified. Rescue efforts were then coordinated with the Coast Guard as well as local fire and rescue teams.
The National Transportation Safety Board has started an investigation into the cause of the crash.
Hicks stated that “Temsco will not speculate or release any details regarding the cause of the incident until authorized to do so by the NTSB.”
“The entire Temsco family is deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers go to the family and loved ones of our pilot,” Hicks said.
As the summer tourist season gears up, helicopters are busy flying gear, guides and sled dogs to summer glacier camps. An Era helicopter crashed on the Norris Glacier outside Juneau on Thursday, injuring the pilot. Both the Norris and Denver glaciers serve as seasonal basecamps for different sled dog tour companies.