Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Searching for Plane Wreck Survivors

A J3 Cub lost it's engine on the other side of the mountain behind Nondalton.  Pilots are taught to always stay with the airplane and the rescuers will come, but after two days the pilot and passenger gave up and decided to hike to Nondalton which they knew was only eleven rugged miles over the mountain.  They left a note for the rescuers (who did come) letting them know where they were heading.  It took the search helicopters another couple of days to find them even after they found the wreck and knew exactly where they were heading.  That's how rough the terrain back there is added to the fact they didn't know which route they were planning to take.
 There are trails that go from Nondalton over the mountain and about half way to the area where the plane crashed.  However, all the men of the village that know those trails well were either in Anchorage or had gone moose hunting up the lake.  Paul and Quentin had been back in that area hunting, but not near as far as the plane crash was.  After a couple of days of helicopters searching and the two men hadn't been found, the men who were up the lake moose hunting headed back so they could help search and Quentin and Josh A. decided to head up and behind the mountain on their 4-wheelers as far as they (and Paul) felt comfortable going.  Another fellow in town headed out walking in another direction in case they came around the mountain that way.
     Quentin and Josh went about a third of the way toward the plane before heading back.  They actually got to about the place where the helicopter finally found the men, but the helicopter had found the men about two hours before Josh A. and Quentin left Nondalton.  We didn't hear the news on the radio because the helicopter was so low and on the other side of the mountain.  Quentin and Josh A. left their 4-wheelers and climbed to the top of a ridge to check in with us on their hand-held radio.  We had heard of the rescue by that time and told them to come on back.  The man who had headed north around that side of the mountain also had a radio and heard the call and headed home as well.
     As Quentin and Josh A. turned to walk back down to their 4-wheelers, they were startled to see a mama bear and two cubs running towards them.  We are taught to never run when confronted with a brown bear, but these guys were already running towards them and their 4-wheelers were not very far away, so they took off running for them.  As they ran down the hill Josh A. hollered at Quentin to slow down because he looked like a moose heading down the hill.  He says he was afraid the bears would get excited about chasing a moose, I'm wondering if it didn't have more to do with the shirt Quentin was wearing that day :)  It's the shirt he and Dayton had just bought in Anchorage.
They made it to the 4-wheelers and took off before the bears reached them... Yikes!


Melanie E said...

Quite the adventure!

John said...

You guys are having way to much fun. The boys need to slow down a bit,LOL. I really do enjoy these adventures you all come up with.

lynn said...

Ditch the shirt ASAP, glad you folks were there to help.