Herbert Glacier, AK Helicopter Crash Into Glacier, June 1999


Juneau, Alaska (AP) -- A sightseeing flight over one of Alaska's spectacular glaciers turned deadly when a helicopter loaded with tourists smashed into the ice, killing all seven people aboard.
Wednesday's crash onto Herbert Glacier, about 20 miles north of Juneau, killed six passengers and the pilot of the Aerospatale AS-350BA operated by Coastal Helicopters.
"It appears as though they flew into the glacier," said Greg Wilkinson, a spokesman for the Alaska State Troopers.
DOUGLAS JENNY, 55, and CAROL JENNY, 52, of Cypress, Tex.,and DENNIS BLANZY, 47, and ANNETTE BLANZY, 46, of Gregory, Mich. were among those killed, troopers said. JOYCE MARTIN, 76, Ormond Beach, Fla., her daughter MICHELLE BLANFORD, 44, Ormond Beach, Fla., and the pilot NIGEL COOK, 29, of Prescott Valley, Arizona were the other victims of the crash.
It was hoped that the bodies of the victims could be recovered today. Poor visibility prevented the recovery of bodies Wednesday.
Troopers and investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were waiting this morning for the weather to improve so they could reach the site.
Helicopters buzz through the skies around Juneau almost constantly in summer, carrying cruise ship passengers and other tourists to the massive Juneau Icefield and the glaciers that flow down from it.
Before the National Transportation Safety Board closed the surrounding airspace as part of its investigation of the crash, other tourists saw a grim reminder of the risks of aerial tourism.
"All you could see was the wreckage," said Pauline Acherman of Santa Monica, Calif., who flew over on a separate helicopter tour.
The cause of the crash was not known Wednesday, and the investigation could take several days.
The helicopter crashed at 3,400 feet at 11 a.m.

Daily Sitka Sentinel Alaska 1999-06-10