Three Unalaska residents to be honored for rescuing trapped child on Portage Glacier

Damian Lopez Plancarte, Mary Heimes and Ronan Gray pulled a child out of a crevasse at Portage Glacier. (Photo courtesy of Ronan Gray)

Three Unalaska residents will be honored by the Anchorage Municipal Assembly.

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On April 1, Ronan Gray, Damian Lopez Plancarte and Mary Heimes helped rescue a child from a crevasse on Portage Glacier.

Their flight home had been cancelled, so they went for a walk. And they were approached by a man who said his son was trapped in the ice.

“When I got to the crevasse and looked down it was just black. You couldn’t really even see anything,” Gray said. “I heard whimpering and then I saw movement. I saw the top of his head. That was when the extremity of the situation really hit me because I was frightened. I couldn’t even fathom going down there myself.”

But Gray did climb into the crevasse. He says it was less than two feet wide. The responders set up a rope and three people served as a human anchor while Gray was lowered 30 feet into the chasm.

“Once I got down into the hole, we got him out in about an hour,” Gray said. “He’d been down there about an hour before I got there.”

Gray says Jack Crockett was just wearing a t-shirt, so by the time he was pulled out of the glacier, Crockett had mild hypothermia.

Search and rescue volunteers took him to an ambulance where he warmed up. Crockett walked away with a few bruises.

Gray is an experienced climber and alpinist, but this was his first time participating in an ice rescue and he has no first aid training. This event, he says makes him want to learn more about those things.