Talk About Awkward
Galveston family survives Alaskan plane crash, forgives pilot friend (withvideo)
A Galveston family survived a plane crash Sunday and were rescued after spending three days stranded on Alaska's Knik Glacier. Mary Jan Lantz, her husband, Fred, and their two adult sons, David and Patrick, were sightseeing in a friend's plane while on vacation to visit Mary Jan's father when the small craft hit a downdraft and crashed.
The group stranded on the glacier during whiteout conditions with up to 70-mile-per-hour winds continued to grow, as para-rescuers skiied four miles to deliver supplies during a seven-hour mission, and National Guardsmen crashed a Blackhawk helicopter in the first rescue attempt. (The Guardsmen survived). On Tuesday, Mary Jan and her sons were rescued while her husband stayed behind with the rescue team and waited for additional help. Fred was picked up off the glacier Wednesday and the family reunited that evening.
It's (obviously incredibly) lucky everyone survived. But once the initial shock and divine gratitude wore off, how awkward would it be to spend three days stranded with the pilot?
How many "Anybody need another blanket? Sorry about this again, guys ... really" were there? And I wonder what the protocol is on apologetic gift-giving in this instance. Do you send the family some Harry & David and call it a day?
The plane carrying the Lantz family crashed just one day before the crash that killed Republican Sen.Ted Stevens and four others. Plane crashes in Alaska occur at twice the national average, in part because Alaskans fly so frequently. More than 80 percent of Alaska's communities, including its capital, are not connected to a major road, making air travel a necessity for shopping and medical needs.
There is approximately one pilot to every 58 Alaska residents, and most pilots fly using visuals, rather than instruments, over mountain ranges and glaciers that often create their own weather.
Moral of the story? Huskies > prop planes.
For more, check out KTRK Ch. 13's interview with the Galveston family: