Skip to main content

Pilot from Minnesota among 6 killed in Malaysian helicopter crash

  • Author:
  • Updated:

An Anoka, Minnesota, native was among six people killed in a helicopter crash in Malaysia over the weekend.

Clifford Fournier, 47, was flying the helicopter near Kuala Lumpur when it crashed Saturday, KARE 11 reports.

Two top Malaysian officials were also killed in the crash: Azlin Alias, chief of staff to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, and former ambassador to the United States Jamaluddin Jarjis, Bloomberg says.

Jarjis' bodyguard Razakan Seran and operations assistant Aidana Baizieva and Tan Huat Seang were among the other victims, the publication notes.

The helicopter was believed to have been returning from Razak's daughter's wedding reception when it crashed, the Sydney Morning Herald notes.

A witness told the Star newspaper they saw the helicopter explode before crashing.

Razak said Sunday that "no stone will be left unturned" to determine the cause of the crash that came during a bitter power struggle in Malaysia's ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Sydney Morning Herald says. Officials have urged people not to speculate until the investigation is complete.

Investigators have recovered the helicopter's black box and cockpit voice recorder, according to the Malaysian Insider.

Fournier described as 'one heck of a pilot'

Chris Webb, a pilot with Minnesota Helicopters in Blaine, told KARE 11 Fournier was a "gentle giant" and "one heck of a pilot."

Fournier moved to California after graduating high school and joined the Marine Corps. Fifteen years ago he bought a helicopter company in Malaysia, KARE 11 says.

He is listed as the director and senior pilot of Solaire, a premier helicopter service provider. He was also known as a trusted source for people who were interested in buying helicopters in Asia, the Malay Mail Online reports.

Star newspaper says Fournier has over 13 years of helicopter flying experience. Friends told Malay Mail Online that he was a "good pilot" and a great man.

He is survived by a wife and four children, KARE 11 notes.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-14 at 10.24.22 AM

Teen driver crashes into parked payloader; 16-year-old passenger dies

The crash happened early Saturday morning in Waconia.

Screen Shot 2022-08-14 at 10.10.50 AM

Barrage of gunfire injures boy in Brooklyn Park; vehicles, apartments damaged

Police say they recovered evidence that more than 40 rounds were fired in the shooting.

Screen Shot 2022-08-14 at 9.15.07 AM

Minnesota Wild back away from thin blue line T-shirt giveaway

The giveaway backfired when word of it reached social media.

Screen Shot 2022-08-13 at 1.26.13 PM

Workers at Minneapolis Trader Joe's become 2nd in nation to unionize

The vote was certified by the National Labor Relations Board Friday.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

Driver killed in ATV crash in Brooklyn Park

The crash occurred in Monroe Park Friday night.


Woman killed by suspected drunk-driver in St. Louis County

The crash occurred on Highway 21 in Embarrass Township Friday night.

Jaelyn Campbell

11-year-old girl missing from Mille Lacs County

Jaelyn Campbell was last seen in Onamia.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 1.58.08 PM

2 ejected, 1 killed in crash that closed southbound I-35

The State Patrol says neither were wearing seat belts.

best buy

Best Buy makes job cuts weeks after warning of soft sales

The Richfield retailer has been dealing with a shift in consumer trends.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 10.26.20 PM

Man makes 'vague comments' about Jewish people, smashes own car with club

It happened at a course that was founded as a Jewish country club 100 years ago.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 9.59.07 PM

4 abandoned puppies found in a bucket in Willmar

The puppies were in good health when they were discovered.

Minneapolis police

Suspect of home invasion, murder in Minneapolis arrested in Wisconsin

There have been 57 deaths reported as homicides in Minneapolis this year.


Pilot killed in helicopter crash was well-known regional developer

A widely known developer and businessman from Hackensack, 56-year-old John Zacher, died after his helicopter went down in Ten Mile Lake in Cass County on Thanksgiving Day. His wife swam to shore and called 911.