Galveston residents stranded in Alaska tell of ordeal

August 12, 2010 3:53:52 PM PDT
We're learning more about a Galveston family's death-defying experience while sightseeing in Alaska. Their plane crash landed on a glacier on Sunday, and it took several days and several attempts before they were finally rescued. After those horrible days, the Lantz family is back together and looking forward to a few days of an Alaskan vacation, but then getting back home to Galveston.

"The whole thing has just been trying to survive since we got here," said Mary Jan Lantz. "We got the real true Alaskan experience. People were telling us they pay to go land on the glaciers and camp out. Well, God bless 'em. I'm ready for the beach!"

A few hours after arriving in Alaska Sunday, a friend offered a trip in his small plane to see the Knik glacier and everything seemed perfect.

"It was beautiful mountainscapes and the glaciers are just beautiful with a huge crevasse with crystal blue water at the bottom," said David Lantz. "It was just a beautiful sight to see."

About 35 minutes into the flight, though, clouds crept in and shoved the plane down.

"One minute, everything was fine and the next minute, we were down," said Fred Lantz.

"Less than 45 seconds from the initial trouble to landing," said David.

Once down on the glacier, all they had was the small plane. They had to stay inside. Outside, the weather was just too bad.

They were OK, but stuck. They were waiting on a glacier rescue that took two days to come.

National Guard parajumpers had to ski in to bring supplies so the family could stay warm and fed. It was a five mile journey for them that took 22 hours. Then they all waited for a helicopter rescue.

"We made eye contact with the helicopter that flew over us, so we thought they were coming right back to get us," said Mary Jan. "Then we got socked in and the blizzard came."

They watched the one helicopter roll away and a second one came the next day, but crashed into the glacier. Those National Guardsmen were OK, but couldn't rescue them.

By Wednesday evening, the Lantz family and the National Guardsmen were all rescued.


Load Comments