The bodies of two adults and a 10-year-old girl were found in the wreckage of a small airplane that crashed Monday near the route of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.
Pilot Ted Smith, 59, Carolyn Sorvoja, 48, and Rosemarie Sorvoja, 10, died in the crash on their way to volunteer at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The wreckage was discovered near the trail in Rainy Pass, according to The Associated Press. The race had already started on Saturday and some of the mushers with their sleds and dogs were in the pass when the bodies were found.
The three victims were from Eagle River in Anchorage and left there on Monday morning for Takotna, a village of 53 people about 235 miles away. They flew on a Cessna 182, a four-seat, single-engine plane.
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Alaska state police spokeswoman Megan Peters told the AP the airplane was supposed to drop off the Sorvojas and return to Anchorage to transport more passengers.
The flight departed at 10 a.m. and when the plane did not arrive in Takotna or retrieve more passengers in Anchorage by 4 p.m., officials launched a search which lasted eight hours.
Kalei Brooks, a spokesperson for the Alaska National Guard, said Smith was an experienced, well-equipped pilot. He was carrying a personal locator beacon in his vest and an emergency locator transmitter on his airplane. However, neither device sent a signal to the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system when the plane started to fail.
On Tuesday morning, the search resumed with about 10 military, state police and private aircraft flying grids in an extended search.
Aerial searchers spotted the wreckage at 10:22 a.m. near the 4,000-foot level of Rainy Pass.
Iditarod racers reach an elevation of 3,200 feet at the pass, which divides southcentral Alaska from the state's vast interior north of the Alaska Range.
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Searchers landed and confirmed that no one had survived. They recovered the bodies and flew them to Anchorage, where autopsies were scheduled.
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