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Officials confirm 4 dead in Alaska helicopter crash

3 state Department of Natural Resources employees and the pilot died in the crash Thursday night near Utqiaġvik on the remote North Slope.
Search and rescue divers recovered the bodies of a helicopter pilot and three Alaska state scientists Sunday from the sunken wreckage of their aircraft, which went down last week in a shallow lake on the remote North Slope.North Slope Borough via AP

Alaska officials confirmed Sunday that all four people on a helicopter that crashed into a remote lake near the city of Utqiaġvik died.

The state Department of Natural Resources identified them as employees Ronnie Daanen, Justin Germann and Tori Moore. Pilot Tony Higdon also died, it said.

No ages were given.

The crash happened about 7 p.m. Thursday roughly 51 miles south-southwest of Utqiaġvik, which claims to be the northernmost city in the U.S. It was formerly known as Barrow.

The Department of Natural Resources said the three state employees, described as geological survey workers, were conducting field research from the air when the aircraft went down in the large, shallow lake.

Their remains were found Sunday, it said in a statement.

Fog was the predominant weather feature in the region the evening of the crash, according to the National Weather Service.

NBC affiliate KTUU of Anchorage reported that the aircraft was a Bell 206L-4 operated by Maritime Helicopters in Homer.

The cause of the crash was being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

"The Department is beginning the process of grieving for our colleagues, supporting our team through this challenging time, and working with partner agencies to learn everything we can about this incident," the Department of Natural Resources said.