Two snowmobilers found in crevasse on glacier south of Portage

Posted: Monday, April 15, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two snowmobilers survived falling about 70 feet into a crevasse south of Portage on Sunday with minor injuries.

The men were trapped a few miles from where an Eagle River man died on Saturday when his machine plunged into a deep, mile-long crevasse.

Alaska State Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said officers received a call at 3:15 p.m. stating that 40-year-old Gordon Woodard of Anchorage, one of three snowmobilers traveling together, had entered a crevasse on Trail Glacier with his machine.

Mike Gribbon, 44, also of Anchorage, approached the crevasse on foot to look for Woodard. Ice at the edge of the crevasse gave way and Gribbon also fell in.

Members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 210th Rescue Squadron arrived at 5:40 p.m. and located Woodard in about 10 minutes. He had suffered an ankle injury. Gribbon was found about 30 minutes later.

As of 7 p.m. one man had been lifted from the crevasse and by 8 p.m. both were pulled out. They were taken to Alaska Regional Hospital.

Guard spokesman Maj. Mike Haller said five para-rescue personnel had responded and a Pavehawk helicopter also was on hand.

The incidents took place a few miles from where Taylor Gramkow, 35, died Saturday. Troopers said Gramkow was part of a small party riding on Spencer Glacier when he became separated from the group.

A member of the party notified troopers at 4:20 p.m. after they found Gramkow's snowmobile about 35 feet down.

Members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 210th Rescue Squadron recovered Gramkow's body at 8:15 p.m. about 15 miles southeast of the Spencer Glacier parking lot.

Wilkinson said snowmobiling conditions were hazardous in the area and troopers were warning people to stay off the glaciers.

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