An Alaska State Troopers helicopter with three people on board crashed while on a night rescue mission and no survivors were found, authorities said Sunday.
About 10 p.m. Saturday, the helicopter, carrying a pilot and a trooper, picked up a snowmobiler who had been reported stranded near Talkeetna north of Anchorage, the State Troopers said in a dispatch.
The pilot radioed that the copter was en route to meet medics, but it didn't arrive, the dispatch said. A search aircraft found the crash site about 9:30 a.m. Sunday but the dispatch said there were no survivors.
Identities of the dead were being withheld while authorities contacted family members, NBC station KTUU of Anchorage reported. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
"This tragedy is going to have a very profound effect on all the employees of the Department of Public Safety, the Alaska State Troopers, [and] the search and rescue community, " troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters told KTUU. "Helo-1 is our main helicopter that goes out, and Helo-1 has pulled so many people from the Alaska wilderness."
The snowmobiler had been stranded near Larson Lake, which is east of Talkeetna, about 90 miles north of Anchorage.
The helicopter was a Eurocopter AS350, built by Aerospatiale. Versions of the AS350 have been used in high-altitude rescues in the Himalaya, and one was able to touch down on the summit of Mount Everest in 2005.