(January 24, 2021) Mark Ellis shares how a snowstorm led to a pilot’s salvation…
‘I was a God mocker,’ says Mark Rose, founder of Genesis Alive, and author of Last of the Long Hunters, a story of the pilots who fly the Alaskan Arctic.
Raised in the secular Seventies, completely un-churched, he had no room for God until he ran out of fuel in an Alaskan storm, miles from his destination.
Rose learned to fly at 16, and by age 22 had become a bush pilot who helped take care of a fleet of helicopters that worked on the Alaska pipeline. ‘My ego meter was on 101,’ he admits.
Low on fuel
One day he flew some hunters to the upper part of a large river on the Arctic. But on his return flight, carrying one passenger, several things went wrong.
First, herds of caribou had moved in, covering his first and second choices for a landing spot. Then he began to run low on fuel, so he called ahead for a weather check at the small airport near Kotzebue, on the Baldwin Peninsula.
‘Come on in, the weather’s fine,’ the FAA flight service operator told him.
Rose decided to take the chance that his fuel would hold out, but then weather conditions changed dramatically. ‘I ran into a snowstorm at night, and I couldn’t see the terrain, so I had to follow the grey ribbon of river below.’ In the days before satellite weather imaging, the man had given him bad advice.
‘All my options were evaporating as fast as I could fly.’ (more…)