Snowmobile Strikes Iditarod Teams, Kills Dog, Injures Others

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A person on a snowmobile drove into two dog teams competing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early Saturday morning, killing one dog and injuring at least three others.

Mushers Aliy Zirkle (AL-ee ZUR-cul) and Jeff King were attacked outside the village of Nulato (noo-LAH-toh), a community of 236 on the Yukon River a little more than halfway into the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) race to Nome.

A suspect has been identified by a village police officer. Race officials did not know the gender of the suspect, said Bri Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Iditarod Trail Committee.

Race officials said Zirkle, currently running in third place, was approaching Nulato when a person on a snowmobile repeatedly attempted to harm her.

One dog on her team received injuries that officials described as non-life-threatening.

King, a four-time Iditarod champion, was behind Zirkle and fared worse.

King was 12 miles (19.31 kilometers) from Nulato when three of his dogs were hit by the snowmobile.

Nash, a 3-year-old male, was killed. Crosby, another 3-year-old male, and Banjo, a 2-year-old male, received injuries and are expected to survive.

King himself requested medical attention at Nulato.

Alaska State Troopers are investigating but had no immediate information on the incident.

Zirkle left Nulato at 6:16 a.m. in third place. King reached Nulato at 3:25 a.m. in fifth place.

The race leader is Brent Sass, who left Nulato at 3:43 a.m.

Reigning champ Mitch Seavey is in second place. He left Nulato one minute after Sass. Seavey’s father, former champion Dallas Seavey, reached Nulato at 3:07 a.m. and is in fourth place.