Pilot forced to jettison fuel tanks over Gulkana Glacier

Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A helicopter pilot jettisoned two external fuel tanks onto the Gulkana Glacier after his aircraft abruptly lost power, officials at Fort Wainwright said Wednesday.

About 100 gallons of fuel was spilled on the glacier south of Delta Junction. One of the tanks broke open and the other didn't, said Maj. Bryan Hilferty, spokesman for Fort Wainwright.

A cleanup team was flown to the site. The team dug up contaminated snow and placed it in 55-gallon drums for removal.

''All the contaminated snow has been dug up and recovered,'' Hilferty said.

Investigators don't know why the helicopter temporarily lost power Monday.

Hilferty said the fuel tanks were jettisoned as a safety measure. No one aboard the helicopter, including seven members of a climb team, was injured.

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