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Iditarod plane crashes with no injuries, troopers say

Casey Grove

A plane flying in support of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race flipped while taking off from a checkpoint, but the pilot and passenger were able to walk away from the crash, according to Alaska State Troopers.

It's the second Iditarod-related plane crash in two days.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers flying from Aniak on Tuesday to the ghost town of Iditarod, which comes alive as a checkpoint during the race, spotted a Cessna 185 upside down near a landing strip, troopers said in a written statement posted online Wednesday. They soon found out that 57-year-old Chugiak resident Diana Moroney, an Iditarod veteran, and a passenger was flying as part of the Iditarod Air Force and had dropped off supplies before trying to take off, troopers said.

The troopers found Moroney and her passenger in McGrath and learned that the plane suddenly lost altitude during the takeoff attempt. It hit the frozen surface of the Iditarod River, flipped over and was "severely damaged," troopers said.

Moroney and the passenger appeared to be uninjured and declined medical help, troopers said.

On Monday, three people died when a Cessna 182 crashed in Rainy Pass. A spokesman for the victims' family identified them as longtime pilot and retired Anchorage police officer Ted Smith, 59, Carolyn Sorvoja, 48, and her daughter, Rosemarie Sorvoja, 10.

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.