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Race Dog Killed By Snowmachine
A Finland, Minnesota Musher, Jennifer Freking, experienced a tragedy Sunday. The Iditarod Trail Committee and Freking's Web site both reported that a dog in her team was hit Sunday evening by a snowmachine near the village of Nulato.
Fellow Iditarod musher and husband, Blake Freking, arrived in Nulato on Monday about 4:25 AM and left at 5:00 PM. The couple held the 56th and 57th positions.
Race official Rudy Indemuhl would not allow the Frekings to speak to the press, according to a checker in Nulato who spoke with Indemuhl over the phone. Chas St. George, the Iditarod public relations official said, that according to Nulato race officials the Frekings did not wish to discuss the incident. St. George said, "They're not wanting to talk to anybody about the situation. We're respecting their decision."
A press release issued by the Iditarod states that, "at approximately 10 p.m. (Sunday) evening, a snowmachiner ran into Jennifer Freking's team on the Yukon River near Koyukuk (upriver from Nulato). Unfortunately, the incident caused the death of a 3-year-old female named 'Lorne.' "
In a statement posted Monday on their kennel's web site (see below), "At 10 PM Sunday night, March 9th, Jen's team was struck by a snowmachine on the Yukon River between Galena and Nulato. 3 year old Lorne was killed and Aries was injured." The note was emailed from Nulato.
The Frekings also said, "The accident was the worst nightmare imaginable."
"We are so lucky neither Blake nor I was struck and more dogs were not injured. I thought we had just witnessed half my team killed at the time," said Jennifer.
For most of the race, the Frekings have been running together.
A busy snowmachine trail runs from Galena to Nulato, and based on the posting, it is unclear as to whether the Frekings were stopped alongside the trail.
At the Wasilla Veterinary Clinic, a spokesman said the clinc had not taken in any Iditarod dogs hit by snowmachines. The All Creatures Veterinary Clinic was on-call for emergencies Sunday night, said a spokeswoman, and that the dog might have been taken there. However no one reported whether or not they had seen an Iditarod dog hit by a snowmachine.
Tonight on Your Alaska Link