Everyone now rescued from Alaska glacier where sightseeing party was stranded
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – the last of 12 people who had been stranded on an Alaska glacier.
The sightseers were part of a five-member group on a small plane that crashed Sunday on Knik Glacier, about 40 miles northeast of Anchorage. The others were rescuers who went to the glacier to help them.
Three members of the sightseeing party, which reportedly had no survival gear or heavy clothing, were taken off Knik Glacier on Tuesday.
Also stranded were three Alaska Army National Guardsmen whose Black Hawk helicopter slid and rolled Tuesday during a rescue attempt, and a four-man rescue squad that skied in Monday with provisions. Officials said the crew members aboard the helicopter were uninjured.
Rescue efforts were complicated by freezing rain, snow and whiteout conditions with winds gusting to 70 mph.
The sightseers' plane crashed into a snow bank when its pilot attempted a turn and was hit by a downdraft, officials said. Donald Erbey, 49, had taken his father's small plane out for a short flight with a family from Galveston, Texas.
The Alaska National Guard identified the family as Fred and Mary Jan Lantz and their sons Patrick and David.
The plane's emergency beacon alerted authorities on Sunday. The rescuers who arrived at the crash site Monday brought sleds loaded with food, water, clothing and shelter.
They found the sightseers in good condition, though two appeared to have minor injuries. The Guard on Wednesday took the last two rescued sightseers to Mat-Su Regional Hospital, where their conditions were not immediately known.