2nd Alaska Crash: Piper Strands 5 on Glacier

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
By George Hatcher

What: PA-32 sight-seeing in Alaska
Where: Knik Glacier, about 113km northeast of Anchorage
When: Sunday August 8, 2010 1 pm
Who: pilot, Donald Erbey, 49 and 4 friends
Why: Erbey had taken Texas friends sightseeing in his small family Piper 32. When he realized he was flying into bad weather, he turned to head back, “hit a downdraft” and crashed in a snowbank, leaving them stranded since Sunday on Knik Glacier, Alaska.

Monday evening, highly trained pararescuers—Maj. Jesse Peterson, Master Sgt. Al Lankford, Tech. Sgt. Chris Uriarte and Tech. Sgt. Angel Santana—braved a 4 mile trek to walk in food and supplies. The plane’s locator beacon was operable.

Helicopters with additional supplies and support are in the area but weather conditions have not permitted drops or a rescue. They have adequate resources to wait till weather clears enough for helicopters to land as hiking out is a last resort.

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