Harry McDonald 8/11/94 Whiteout Glacier Flying Crash
Todd Sjodin 8/11/94 Whiteout Glacier Flying Crash

Sheep-Scouting Trip Turns Deadly For 2
By Ron McGee, ADN 08/11/94

An inspirational hockey coach and a pipeline chemist died in the fiery crash of a single-engine airplane in Chugach State Park Tuesday.  Harry McDonald, 53, who has coached thousands of local hockey players since the late 1960s, and his passenger, Todd Sjodin, 30, were scouting sheep for an upcoming hunting trip when the crash occurred, according to family friend Denny Anderson.

A physical education teacher and former head hockey coach at Chugiak High School, McDonald was a longtime pilot.

Sjodin, an Eagle River resident, had obtained a sheep-hunting permit and was planning to go hunting Friday with his brother, according to his father, Alton Sjodin.

Sjodin had lived in Anchorage since graduating from the University of Minnesota-Duluth four years ago, his father said.  He worked as a chemist for Chugach North Technical Services, a contractor to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

"When our good friend Harry McDonald found out that my son was going hunting, he offered to take him up and show him around," Alton Sjodin said.

"That's the way Harry was," Anderson said. "If someone was going hunting, Harry would take him up and try to help him out."

McDonald took off from Fire Lake in Eagle River around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in his two-seat Taylorcraft floatplane.

McDonald's wife, Carol, became alarmed when he failed to return from his flight and missed a hockey clinic Tuesday, Anderson said.  She called Anderson and the state troopers.

Anderson used his private plane to search for McDonald's plane until it got too dark Tuesday, he said.  The Air National Guard also launched a helicopter and searched until sunset.

McDonald hadn't filed a flight plan, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Joette Storm.

Wednesday morning, Anderson resumed his search and found the wreckage about two miles southwest of Whiteout Glacier, he said.

The crash occurred about 22 miles from Fire Lake, in an area dotted with sheep.

The crash's impact buried the airplane's nose at a 70-degree angle into the side of a barren hillside, a little south of a glacier-fed stream.  Only the skeletonlike frame of the burned airplane remained visible.

State troopers and National Transportation Safety Board officials arrived at the 3,000-foot-level crash scene shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. They retrieved the bodies and examined