Bodies Found On Iditarod Route From Alaskan Plane Crash: Cessna 182 Pilot Did Not File Flight Plan

By Staff Reporter on March 6, 2013 11:30 AM EST

Cessna 182
A Cessna 182 crashed at 4,000 feet at Alaska's Rainy Pass. There were no survivors. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Three bodies were found on an Iditarod route from a small aircraft wreckage just hours after the plane lost communication. There were no survivors.

The victims of the plane crash include 59-year-old pilot Ted Smith, passengers 48-year-old Carolyn Sorvoja and 10-year-old Rosemarie Sorvoja. All three victims were from Eagle River, a town in northern Anchorage.

According to the Associated Press, Smith's Cessna 182 left Anchorage for Takotna, a village of 53 people, on Monday. The plane took off from Merrill Field at 10 a.m. Monday. The plane did not file a flight plan for the 235-mile journey.

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According to Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters, the aircraft was scheduled to drop off the Sorvojas before returning to Anchorage for more passengers. By 4 p.m., flight operators at Takotna reported that the Ted Smith's Cessna 182 was long overdue, prompting the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center to respond.

A HC-130 search-and-rescue aircraft and a helicopter was dispatched to Rainy Pass to patrol the Cessna's projected flight route. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the Cessna 182 after an eight hour search.

According to Alaska National Guard spokesperson Kalei Brooks, Ted Smith was an experienced pilot and was carrying a personal locator beacon in his vest as well as an emergency locator transmitter on his plane. Unfortunately, both locators failed to send a signal that reached the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system.

By Tuesday morning, a total of 10 military, state trooper and private aircraft flight grids were searched. Finally, aerial spotters identified the wreckage at 10:22 a.m. The wreck occurred near the 4,000-foot level of Rainy Pass.

Carolyn and Rosemarie Sorvoja were supposed to volunteer at the prestigious Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The Iditarod racers would reach an elevation of 3,200 feet along the Rainy Pass.

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