FAIRBANKS — A helicopter carrying a team of geologists crashed in northern Alaska near Coldfoot, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed Wednesday.
No one was hurt in the crash, which reportedly occurred while the pilot was looking for a safe place to land near Coldfoot — a small town with a population of about 12, about halfway up the Dalton Highway 259 miles north of Fairbanks.
Chris Shaver, an aviation investigator for the NTSB in Alaska, said the pilot reported noticing an “uncommanded descent” while looking for the a landing site.
Shaver said the pilot first attempted to add power to pull up, but, after that failed, decided to try to put the aircraft down instead of fighting the descent.
When the helicopter hit the ground its forward momentum tipped it over onto its side.
Shaver said the crash did not appear to be an issue with the helicopter.
“It was just getting it into a situation that was going to be really hard for him to get out of,” Shaver said.
“I think he made the right decision ... instead of trying to go do a bunch of things to get out of it he decided to descend.”
The aircraft, a Robinson 44, was owned by Quicksilver Air. The company is based in Fairbanks, from which it operates six helicopters and two fixed-wing Super Cub airplanes.
The R-44 that crashed was carrying a team from the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys that was making the trip to examine frozen debris lobes that are threatening the haul road.
Quicksilver co-owner Sharon Swisher said Wednesday that the aircraft had been recovered.
Contact staff writer Weston Morrow at 459-7520. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMschools.