Four bodies have been recovered from the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed into a shallow lake in Alaska last week, authorities have said.
Search and rescue divers recovered the bodies of a helicopter pilot and three scientists from the water on the remote North Slope.
The 1996 Bell 206 helicopter crashed last Thursday while transporting Alaska Department of Natural Resources staff while they conducted fieldwork in the area.
The dead were identified by the North Slope Police Department as Ronald Daanen, 51; Justin Germann, 27; Tori Moore, 26; and pilot Bernard “Tony” Higdon, 48.
The scientists were members of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Survey. The helicopter is owned by Maritime Helicopters.
Volunteers from the Alaska Dive Search, Rescue, and Recovery team arrived at the crash site around 10.45pm on Saturday and recovered the bodies around 6am on Sunday.
An investigation by the National Transport Safety Board is under way.
The only way to raise the wreckage would be to use another helicopter because it is in the middle of one of many lakes scattered across the vast tundra, said Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transport Safety Board’s Alaska region.
“In Alaska, here during the fire season, commercial helicopters are at a premium so we are having challenges getting a helicopter to do the work,” he said.
Authorities said the aircraft will likely not be raised from the lake until Monday or Tuesday given the lack of available helicopters.