The Czech Republic’s richest man, investment tycoon Petr Kellner, has died along with four others in a helicopter crash during a heli-skiing trip in Alaska.
One person survived the crash near a glacier and is now in hospital.
Kellner, 56, founded the PPF investment group, which is reported to have global assets worth €44bn (£38bn; $52bn).
Kellner’s fortune is put at $17.5bn by Forbes. The cause of Saturday’s crash, near Knik Glacier, is not clear.
Kellner, the majority shareholder in PPF, is survived by his wife and four children.
The helicopter came down about 100km (62 miles) from Anchorage in Alaska.
The four other victims have been named as: a fellow Czech – Benjamin Larochaix, 50; Gregory Harms, 52, of Colorado; and two Alaskans – Sean McManamy, 38, and the pilot, Zachary Russel, 33.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, himself a billionaire, described the crash in the US as “an incredible tragedy”.
In the Czech post-communist era Kellner’s first business venture was selling office supplies.
The BBC’s Rob Cameron in Prague reports that Kellner was a secretive man who made his fortune in the 1990s by launching an investment fund with which he bought a controlling stake in the country’s largest insurance company.
PPF then expanded into telecoms, media and engineering. Last October it bought a major European broadcast network, Central European Media Enterprises, for $1.1bn, prompting fears in the Czech Republic that the network might lose independence.
PPF also owns Home Credit, a consumer loan firm which is very active in China.
News Source: BBC News