A kayak guide spotted the bodies just before 10 a.m. in Valdez Glacier Lake. Responders recovered the bodies four hours later near the toe of the glacier, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Two of the tourists were floating in the water, while the other was found on an ice floe.
“It’s dangerous getting near the face of glaciers like that,” Valdez city spokeswoman Sheri Pierce told the paper.
Investigators think the tourists were in an inflatable canoe-type boat before they died, the city said in a news release. Their identities were not released, but they were described as a 62-year-old man and a married man and woman, both age 67.
Pierce told Fox News that authorities were working with the German Consulate to confirm identities.
All three tourists were wearing life jackets when they were found. Rescue crews were slowed by shedding ice from the glacier, Pierce said.
“If they were knocked out of the boat due to a wake or a calving piece of ice, the water is very cold,” she told the paper.
Investigators don’t suspect foul play, she said.
The lake is home to large chunks of ice and is popular with hikers, cross-country skiers in the winter and paddlers and picnickers in the summer.
“And with the warming climate, it’s a place worth seeing before the glacier retracts farther than it already has,” said the state’s tourism website.