By Mirembe Martina
A total of seven people got stuck on an ice glacier for four days when their aircraft landed to wait for the skies to clear but it did not clear for four full days.
The tourists had gone for a flyover tour of Alaska’s Denali National Park but their pilot, John Nealon was forced to land to wait for the skies to clear. Of the seven was a family of five from Colorado. For two nights, they slept in the plane keeping themselves warm with body heat.
On their third night, they shifted into a tent in the snow that was brought in by rescue rangers. “It’s rare to be stranded for that length of time,” Denali National Park spokesperson Maureen McLaughlin said. “More typically, a sightseeing trip might plan to land on a glacier, spend about 20 minutes, and then sometimes get delayed there for just a little bit longer.”
“They were all in really good spirits,” Denali National Park ranger Brandon Latham said of the passengers. “They were of course tired from being inside the plane for so long, but they had great attitudes.” Talking about Nealon’s choice to land, he said, “My sense was that he did a great job at keeping everyone engaged in conversation and a positive light on the situation. Everyone knew they were fine and that it was a situation they would just have to get through.”
After the skies cleared on the fourth night, they managed to hike back; everyone is alive today.