Rescue Team Gets Closer to Pair Stranded on Alaska Glacier

Alaska National Guard facility, Fort Richardson, Alaska. U.S. AIR FORCE

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Four Alaska Air National Guard rescuers parachuted onto a glacier and trudged several miles through difficult terrain and harsh weather in their effort to save two people who have been stuck there since Friday.

A helicopter dropped the rescue team about 15 miles from the stranded duo, who dug snow caves to protect themselves from powerful winds and heavy snow on Bear Glacier. The Alaska Air National Guard said that the rescuers bedded down for the night about 6 1/2 miles from the man and woman and hoped to reach them Tuesday.

An aircraft dropped supplies to Jennifer Neyman and Christopher Hanna, both of Soldotna, who were dropped off by an airplane Friday for a day trip. Bad weather prevented that airplane and two rescue helicopters from reaching the ice field.

The supply plane dropped sleeping bags, food, fuel and a radio, all in a lighted package.

An Air National Guard statement issued Monday night said it was unclear whether Neyman and Hanna had collected the supplies.

Neyman, 36, and Hanna, 45, used cellphone and satellite text messages to tell friends they spent the first night in the tent they carried until wind and snow shredded it Saturday. Satellite coordinates indicated Neyman and Hanna were on the 13-mile-long glacier at an elevation of about 4,300 feet.

Bear Glacier is on the Harding Ice Field, which covers 700 square miles of Alaska's Kenai Mountains in glacier ice, according to the National Park Service. The ice field is made up of more than 30 glaciers, the largest entirely within U.S. boundaries.

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