FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2016
Iditarod Trail Committee
2100 South Knik Goose Bay Road
Wasilla, Alaska 99654 907.376.5155 (voice) 907.373.6998 (facsimile)
Zirkle, King and their teams purposefully hit by snowmachiner
Anchorage, Alaska – Early this morning, as Aliy Zirkle (bib #13) was making her way towards the Nulato checkpoint, a snowachiner repeatedly attempted to harm her and her team. One dog received a non-life threatening injury.
Upon arrival at the Nulato checkpoint, Zirkle reported the incident to race officials and a report was filed with the Alaska State Troopers. Contact was also made with the village police officer in Nulato.
Jeff King (bib #61), who was behind Zirkle, experienced a similar incident 12-miles prior to his arrival at the Nulato checkpoint. This incident resulted in the death of Nash, a three- year-old male. In addition, Crosby, a three-year-old male, and Banjo, a two-year-old male, received non-life threatening injuries. King requested and received medical attention at the checkpoint.
The suspect has been identified by the village police officer in Nulato, and authorities are conducting an investigation.
Regrettably, this incident very much alters the race of the two mushers competing for a win; however, both are going to continue on their way toward Nome.
Bri Kelly, Thompson & Co. Public Relations Email: email@example.com
Alaska State Troopers dispatch, via spokesperson Megan Peters:
AK16018057Location: NulatoType: Assault
On 03/12/16 at approximately 0243 hours, the Alaska State Troopers in Galena received a report that five miles below Koyukuk on the Yukon river, Aliy Zirkle, 46, had her dog sled hit on the side by a snow machine and the snow machine turned around multiple times and came back at her before driving off. Zirkle was not injured and one of her dogs was bruised during the incident. Zirkle had another contact with the same snow machine approximately 12 miles above Nulato. The snow machine revved up and was pointed at her and then finally left the area with no further injuries to Zirkle or her team. Another musher, Jeff King, was hit from behind by what appears to be the same snow machine approximately 12 miles above Nulato. One of of his dogs was killed in the incident and five of his dogs were injured. King reported that he was not injured. A Trooper is responding to Nulato to continue the investigation.
Kaiser Notes- Interesting to Note this Trail Description from the Iditarod Trail Notes Galena to Nulato:
Past Koyukuk the river runs west for five miles, heading directly for a thousand-foot ridge dead ahead, then makes a 90-degree left turn to the south to run along the base of the ridge. There is a liquor store at the northwest corner of the bend that is frequented by villagers from up and down the river. Unfortunately, you may have to watch for discarded bottles and cans and inebriated snowmachiners.