Iditarod Volunteers Found Dead in Plane Crash
A plane that has crashed along the route of the famous Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska has been discovered, containing the bodies of three family members who were flying to the village of Tokatna to volunteer for the race.
According to reports, the bodies found on the Iditarod route were Carolyn Sorvoja, 48, and her daughter, 10-year-old Rosemarie Sorvoja. The pilot, 59-year-old Ted Smith, was also killed.
Although the plane departed Anchorage earlier this week, the pilot did not file a flight plan.
According to Anchorage Daily News, the victims were headed to a checkpoint in the Iditarod race where they hoped to volunteer.
The Inquisitr reports, the wreckage is being removed by helicopter and will be transported to Alaska where it can be studied in detail to determine what caused the crash, the Anchorage Daily News noted.
Members of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center were alerted to begin a search and rescue mission when the plane did not arrive at its destination, nor did it return to Anchorage.
After learning the plane was last seen around Rainy Pass, crews did a grid search of the area until they found the wreckage.
“We always go into a Search and Rescue mission as that, a search and rescue,” Air National Guard spokesperson Kalei Rupp said. “We’re always hopeful that we find survivors.”
“Unfortunately in this case when we did find the wreckage and got on scene we saw there was three deceased people. That’s never the outcome we want.”
The wreckage was located in an area along the Iditerod course known as Rainy Pass.
All occupants of the aircraft were residents of Eagle River, Alaska. Rescue crews have since transported their bodies back to Anchorage.
According to CBS affiliate KTVA, the Sorvojas were not official Iditarod volunteers, but a spokesperson for the family said they were headed out to Takotna to help out on their own time.
Smith had spent 29 years with APD before retiring in 2011. His colleagues remember a passionate career police officer who dedicated his time to modernizing APD’s firearms training program, the station reports.
“He served the public well, but he is truly respected by his fellow law enforcement officers throughout the that state,” former APD spokesman Dave Parker said. Parker worked with Smith in the Anchorage Police Department, and the two found themselves working together in their retirement as temporary officers with the Palmer police. “It was through the efforts and his brother that we have such a great firearms training program at APD.”
On The Web:
Bodies Found on Iditarod Route in Crashed Airplane
Bodies Found On Iditarod Route After Plane Crash, Victims Planned To Volunteer For Race
Three Dead in Rainy Pass Plane Crash