Minnesota Woman Dies in Alaska Hiking Accident

July 05, 2018 10:16 PM

A Minnesota teacher is dead after she was struck by falling ice while on vacation in Alaska.

It happened about an hour south of Anchorage. State troopers said 32-year-old Brittany Boegel was hiking in the area when the accident happened.


Boegel taught at Venture Academy in Minneapolis, a charter school of about 300 students. 

Those who know her say not many had the spark for life that she did.

"Brittany was a passionate educator, a world traveler and a really, really good person," said Mike Warner, co-head of Venture Academy. 

Boegel was a sixth-grade STEM teacher the last four years.

"She had a spark with kids and knew how to make them excited about learning," said Clara Catalan, a Venture Academy employee whose daughter had Boegel as a teacher. 

Catalan said Boegel inspired her young girl to dream big. 

"I feel like as a parent I was very comfortable with her as a role model for my daughter," Catalan said. 

But the unthinkable happened Wednesday when Boegel and her loved ones went hiking in Alaska at Portage Valley.

Alaskan authorities said the ceiling of a hollowed-out mass of compressed snow, looking a lot like a snow cave, collapsed on the group killing Boegel and injuring two others.

"It was very shocking and hard to accept," Catalan said. 

"The kids across Minneapolis have lost a really good teacher," Warner added. 

Boegel's family released a statement saying: 

"Brittany loved to travel and explore the world and left us doing what she loved. Her mom, dad, and brothers were with her until the very end of her last earthly adventure. We would like to thank the first responders and bystanders that helped us. She was a joy of life that focused on giving back to her family, friends, students, and communities, and we ask that everyone remember Brittany by carrying that forward. As a strong Christian we know she is with her Lord Jesus Christ. Brittany's family."

"I can't stop thinking about her family, and her boyfriend, because whatever I'm feeling it must be exponentially more for them," Warner said. 

Besides her time in the classroom, Boegel was fluent in Spanish, played sports and volunteered with the Girls on the Run program.

"She was a dedicated educator who cared more about other people than herself," Warner said. 

Clearly, her passion for life was contagious. And Boegel's family asks that everyone remember Brittany by carrying that forward.

"There's a lot of things I'm going to miss," Catalan said. 

School staff will be calling all parents and students, and support groups are available to anyone who needs them.

Venture Academy plans to honor Brittany's life and work in the coming weeks. 

RELATED: Alaskan Husky Helps Rescue Injured Hiker Near Anchorage


Brett Hoffland and Ben Rodgers

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