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ANCHORAGE-The pilot who died in the Era Helicopter LLC crash southwest of Iliamna Saturday, has been identified as 66-year-old William Zeman. Zeman was the senior pilot for Era Helicopters and was a resident of Douglas.
Zeman and his helicopter had completed their job in Nome doing seismic work there. He was on a two-day flight back to Anchorage when the incident occurred. He had left from Nome earlier that day and had made refueling stops at Unalakleet and Bethel. He was on the last leg of the trip for the day and was due to spend the night in Iliamna before continuing on to Anchorage. He never made it to Iliamna.
The helicopter’s GPS and on-line tracking system, which was able to be monitored remotely, showed the last signal from the helicopter just after dusk at 8:02 pm. The signal showed the aircraft about 6 miles southwest of Iliamna. That was where the helicopter was ultimately located. The helicopter had crashed and burned. The remains of the pilot, William Zeman were discovered inside the wreckage.
Clint Johnson, the NTSB investigator stated that he had been working with meteorologists to determine the weather conditions at the time of the crash. Weather conditions at that locations were up and down with limited visibility at times according to Johnson.
Johnson has been plagued with bad weather as well, and has not been able to get to the crash scene. Investigators from the engine manufacturer, Turbomeca USA and American Eurocopter Corporation are traveling to the scene as well and are due to travel with Johnson today weather permitting.
A preliminary report from NTSB will be available later in the week.