WASILLA - Two men in a small plane have survived chilly plunges in a Wasilla area lake after the nose of the aircraft broke through the ice while taxiing for an attempted takeoff.
Tom Shankster, 52, of Aurora, Colo., and his passenger, Jason Johnson, 37, of Wasilla, jumped from the Piper PA-18 Supercub when the mishap occurred Saturday afternoon on Anderson Lake.
The men swam across a short stretch of open water and crawled onto the ice.
Johnson said the worst part came next, when they faced a 100-yard walk across rotten ice back to shore. The men broke through but managed to climb out.
Neither man was hurt.
The men were flying to a remote campsite to drop off Johnson, who planned to drive back a snowmachine.
The plane was equipped with skis, said Shankster, a former Palmer resident who owns the plane and keeps it in Alaska. He said he might have taken off without a problem if he'd gotten the plane up to speed right away, rather than taxiing into position.
The plane sank up to the wings. Area residents watched it through binoculars as it slowly sank.
A helicopter from Northern Pioneer Helicopters in Big Lake arrived later to lift the plane from the ice. Shankster said he believed the plane is mostly undamaged.
Juneau Empire ©2013. All Rights Reserved.