Ground storm forces two Iditarod mushers to seek rescue

Mar 18, 2022, 9:12 AM | Updated: Mar 19, 2022, 5:15 am
FILE - A competitor mushes across Willow Lake during the restart of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Rac...

FILE - A competitor mushes across Willow Lake during the restart of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 6, 2022, in Willow, Alaska. Two back-of-the-pack mushers had to be rescued in separate incidents from race Friday, March 18, after winds from a severe ground storm caused deteriorating conditions, race officials said. (Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)

(Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two back-of-the-pack mushers had to be rescued in separate incidents from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Friday after winds from a severe ground storm caused deteriorating conditions, race officials said.

One of those rescued was a musher who had a dangerous encounter with a moose before the race started.

Both rescues happened Friday morning as mushers were making the final push for the finish line in Nome.

Gerhardt Thiart, who was nearing the checkpoint in Safety, 22 miles (35 kilometers) from Nome, activated his emergency beacon because of the storm.

Edward Stang from a nearby village was in the area on his snowmobile and found Thiart and his dog team. Thiart had suffered a leg injury.

Stang, who didn’t know Thiart had activated an emergency beacon, transported him to the nearby community of White Mountain. There, a helicopter picked up Thiart and took him to Nome, where he was undergoing evaluation Friday night, a statement from the Iditarod said.

About the same time, another musher, Bridgett Watkins, called a family member in Nome seeking assistance. A search-and-rescue team from White Mountain was dispatched, but in the meantime Watkin’s husband Scotty located her. He and four other people on snowmobiles left from Nome to help mushers during the storm.

Watkins was taken to White Mountain, where she was evaluated at a local clinic. She was then flown to Nome and was with family.

In February, Watkins was on a training run near Fairbanks when a bull moose began to stomp her dogs and didn’t stop even after she emptied her gun into the moose. She was able to call for help, and a friend showed up and killed the moose with a high-powered rifle after the moose had seriously injured four of her dogs.

The search and rescue team from White Mountain along with an Iditarod snowmobile crew who monitors the back of the race, were taking the two dog teams to Nome, where race veterinarians will evaluate them Friday, Iditarod officials said.

Both mushers had to scratch from the race because of the rescues.

The nearly 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) Iditarod started March 6 near Willow and took mushers over the unforgiving Alaska wilderness. Brent Sass won the race Tuesday.

Of the 49 mushers that started the race, eight have scratched.

Nine mushers remain on the trail, all bunched up at the checkpoint in White Mountain, 77 miles (124 kilometers) from Nome.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Guinea removed as host of 2025 African Cup

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — The African soccer confederation has removed Guinea as host of the 2025 African Cup of Nations because of inadequate infrastructure. The decision was announced late Friday night and after Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe traveled to the country to meet with Col. Mamady Doumbouya, the head […]
1 day ago
China's Wu Tongtong is carried from the court by teammates during their gold medal game at the wome...
Associated Press

US women win fourth straight gold at World Cup, top China

SYDNEY (AP) — The names on the U.S. team have changed, the Americans’ dominance has not. A’ja Wilson scored 19 points, Kelsey Plum added 17 and the United States beat China 83-61 on Saturday to win its fourth consecutive gold medal at the women’s basketball World Cup. This was one of the most dominant teams […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Brumfield TD run sparks UNLV over New Mexico 31-20

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Doug Brumfield threw for 233 yards and ran for a second-half touchdown as UNLV scored 24 unanswered points and beat New Mexico 31-20 on Friday night. Brumfield rolled to his left before diving over a defender and into the end zone from six yards out to tie the game 17-17 midway […]
1 day ago
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) stiff-arms Washington linebacker Carson Bruener durin...
Associated Press

Thompson-Robinson leads UCLA past No. 15 Washington, 40-32

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Dorian Thompson-Robinson had read and heard the comments about UCLA’s unbeaten start not meaning much due to the quality of opponents it played. On Friday night, Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins made sure to make a statement with their first victory over a top-15 team since 2014. Thompson-Robinson passed for 315 yards […]
1 day ago
Fans watch as New York Yankees' Aaron Judge comes to bat during the third inning of the team's base...
Associated Press

Yankees star Judge tries again for AL-record 62nd home run

A look at Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees as he approaches major home run milestones: Season HR Total: 61 Friday’s Game: Went 1 for 2 with two walks in a 2-1 loss to Baltimore. Judge also is bidding for the first Triple Crown since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Judge leads the AL […]
1 day ago
San Francisco Giants' Evan Longoria (10) celebrates with Mike Yastrzemski (5) after hitting a two-r...
Associated Press

Longoria 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, Giants win 10 of 11, beat Dbacks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Evan Longoria homered twice and drove in five runs as the San Francisco Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-4 Friday night for their 10th win in 11 games. Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Wynns also went deep as San Francisco (79-78) moved above .500 for the first time since Aug. 17. The […]
1 day ago
Ground storm forces two Iditarod mushers to seek rescue