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Snowmobile Rider Strikes Teams in Iditarod Sled Dog Race

  • VOA News

Four-time champion Jeff King and his team leave the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska, March 5, 2016. King's team was one of two struck Saturday by a snowmobile rider.

Four-time champion Jeff King and his team leave the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska, March 5, 2016. King's team was one of two struck Saturday by a snowmobile rider.

A snowmobile rider ran into two dog teams that were competing Saturday in Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, killing one dog and injuring at least three others.

The teams of sled drivers Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King were struck outside the village of Nulato on the Yukon River, a little more than halfway into the 1,600-kilometer (994-mile) race from near Anchorage to Nome.

The Iditarod website said suspect Arnold Demoski, 26, had been taken into custody. Police said the motive for the incident was unknown.

Race officials said Zirkle was approaching Nulato when a person on a snowmobile repeatedly attempted to harm her.

One of King's dogs was killed in the attack.

"It did not seem like an accident," King told the Iditarod website. "The river is a mile wide, the packed trail is 40 feet wide. I had lights on, reflectors on my harnesses, sled bag, two lights on my person. It really felt like an intentional attempt to scare me."

King requested and received medical attention at the checkpoint, but he and Zirkle both planned to continue the race to the finish in Nome as planned, King with only 11 dogs remaining on his team.

Zirkle was in third place; King, a four-time Iditarod champion, was in fifth place. The race leader was Brent Sass, and reigning champ Mitch Seavey was in second place

Eighty-five teams set off last Sunday from the town of Willow, 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Anchorage. Of those, only five have withdrawn from the race.

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