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2 Hikers Rescued from Kenai Peninsula Glacier

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Photo File Photo Courtesy of Alaska Air National Guard.
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Stranded on a glacier on the southern Kenai Peninsula since Friday night, two hikers were rescued by crews with the Alaska Air National Guard just after noon Tuesday.

Staff Sergeant Edward Eagerton, a spokesperson for the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, says that 36-year-old Jennifer Neyman and 45-year-old Christopher Hanna of Soldotna were released to medical personnel at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna and are both reported to be in good condition.

Eagerton says a satellite locator beacon that Neyman and Hanna carried with them was crucial in helping rescue crews find the two.

“They were able to communicate their situation to other people and they were able to communicate their location and so it gave us an idea of where to go as opposed to having to wait for the weather to clear so that they could perform a search which, you know, with the size of the area, could have taken days to finding them if at all. So in this case it gave our people the ability to know exactly where they were going,” said Eagerton.

Bad weather and difficult terrain hampered rescue efforts for three days, but Monday night four Alaska Air National Guard rescuers were delivered by helicopter onto the glacier. They located the two hikers who had dug snow caves after their tent failed just after noon Tuesday.

The pair were stranded near Bear Glacier in Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park Friday after they flew out to the glacier to hike and ski. The plane that was supposed to pick them up Friday evening could not return due to bad weather. 

Neyman is a long-time journalist on the Kenai Peninsula where she is the owner and editor of the Redoubt Reporter. Neyman has also worked for KDLL public radio and the Peninsula Clarion newspaper in Kenai.

Editor’s note: Jennifer Neyman was listed as a resident of Wrangell in the Alaska State Trooper dispatch about the stranding incident and that information was used in earlier stories, but she actually lives in Soldotna. Previous reports have stated the stranded hikers were rescued from Bear Glacier. They were actually 11 miles directly west of Bear Glacier in Harding Icefield, and Southwest of Seward.