ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Five people on an Alaska glacier were rescued Wednesday, including the last two members of a sight-seeing party stranded for days after their plane crashed.
The Alaska Air National Guard took the two sightseers to Mat-Su Regional Hospital, where their conditions were not immediately known. The other three members of their party were taken off Knik Glacier on Tuesday, two days after their plane crashed on the glacier about 40 miles northeast of Anchorage.
Strong winds, snow and low-hanging clouds prevented rescuers from immediately reaching the party, which reportedly did not have survival gear or heavy clothing.
The other three people rescued Wednesday were Alaska Army National Guardsmen whose helicopter slid and rolled Tuesday during a rescue attempt. Four others from a separate rescue mission remain on the glacier pending improved weather conditions.
The sightseers' plane crashed Sunday into a snow bank when its pilot attempted a turn and was hit by a downdraft. 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 them as Fred and Mary Jan Lantz and their sons Patrick and David.
The plane's emergency beacon alerted authorities on Sunday, and pararescuemen carrying sleds loaded with food, water, clothing and shelter arrived at the crash site on Monday. They found the five in good condition, though two appeared to have minor injuries.