Rookie musher stranded on Farewell Burn is OK

Kevin Klott

Willow musher Lev Shvarts became the 13th musher overall to scratch in the 42nd running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The 34-year-old rookie officially scratched at 9 p.m. Wednesday, but his troubles began as far back as Tuesday morning.

According to an Iditarod press release, Shvarts damaged his sled between Rohn and Nikolai.

"Shvarts and his dogs are fine and will be flown to McGrath in the morning with the Iditarod Air Force," the report said.

A photo of Shvarts posted to an Iditarod pilot's Facebook page Wednesday showed the musher standing next to his team in the Farewell Burn, trying to flag down the pilot of a plane. The pilot, Justin Shoffner of Rust's Flying Service, wrote on his Facebook wall that "while flying along the Iditarod trail, a musher indicated they were in trouble."

At the time, it had been hours since Shvart's GPS tracker had been updated. Shvart departed Rohn at 8:23 a.m., Tuesday, but more than 36 hours had passed until he was officially withdrawn from the race.


Anchorage Daily News