Friday, April 5, 2013
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska man who fell about 80 feet after his snowmobile plunged into a crevasse on a glacier said he had just decided to turn around because of concern about avalanche danger.
Tom Douglas, 41, of Fairbanks, landed unhurt on his feet on a ledge Thursday, with his snowmobile wedged in a narrow space about 30 feet above him.
"The area I was on, it was like, man this just doesn't feel right," he told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://is.gd/mKegew ) on Friday. "I turned to get out of there and, boom, I fell through the air."
Douglas and his machine fell through a snow bridge as he led a group of snowmobilers who were conducting ice and snow tests around Jarvis Glacier in Alaska's interior. The other members of the group determined Douglas was unhurt and left to seek help.
The Rescue Coordination Center dispatched Alaska Air National Guard crews, including a helicopter team that lowered a harness and climbing tools to Douglas. He spent about eight hours in the crevasse before he was rescued.
Rescuers believe the snowmobiler escaped injury because the crevasse was narrow and slowed his fall, Guard spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes said.
Douglas blamed himself for the mishap, saying he's spent a lot of time on the glacier and made the mistake of going into an area he didn't know was safe.
Had he gotten that bad feeling just 300 feet earlier, he said, "I probably would have saved a whole lot of hassle for a whole lot of people."
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com