Bodies Found on Iditarod Route: Plane Crash in Alaska

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: March 5, 2013 Last Updated: March 6, 2013
Related articles: United States » West
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Bodies found on Iditarod route: Three bodies were found dead in a plane wreckage along an Iditarod route in Alaska.

Iditarod champ Lance Mackey mushed towards Nome, Alaska in March 2007. (Anvil Mountain/AFP/Getty Images)

Iditarod champ Lance Mackey mushed towards Nome, Alaska in March 2007. (Anvil Mountain/AFP/Getty Images)

The bodies of three people were found in the wreckage of a small aircraft along a route for the Iditarod—the annual dog-sled race across Alaska, stretching from Anchorage to the western town of Nome.

The victims were two adults, Ted Smith, 59, Carolyn Sorvoja, 48, and 10-year-old Rosemarie Sorvoja from Eagle River, located in Anchorage. They died in a crash near Rainy Pass, reported The Associated Press.

Rescuers found the wreckage site on Tuesday after searchers began late on Monday when the plane was reported missing, the Alaska National Guard told Reuters

The plane and the people on board were not part of the “Iditarod Air Force,” the group of volunteers who transport supplies and race officials to checkpoints along the Iditarod race, according to the news agency. “All our pilots and all our folks are accounted for,” Erin McLarnon, an Iditarod spokeswoman, was quoted as saying.

It was not clear if the plane and its victims were following the Iditarod.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters told The Associated Press that the plane was transporting the Sorvoja family to Takotna and would then return back to Anchorage to pick up more people.

The pilot, Smith, was described as an experienced airman but he did not send out a signal that his plane was in distress before it crashed.

“Please note this information is preliminary and subject to change,” Allan Kenitizer, a public affairs worker with the Federal Aviation Administration, told the Alaska Dispatch publication. He added that the plane “crashed under unknown circumstances. According to local authorities, there were three people onboard and they were fatally injured.”

The rescue effort resumed in the morning on Tuesday and searchers discovered the plane wreckage near the 4,000-foot level of Rainy Pass, according to AP.

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