Plane wreckage and bodies found on route of Iditarod dog race

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Rookie Jon Korta mushes his sled dog team over frozen Willow Lake at the start of the Iditarod in 2007.

Three bodies in the wreckage of a Cessna 182 airplane were found along the 1,000-mile Iditarod sled dog course on Tuesday, not far from the Rainy Pass checkpoint, Alaskan authorities reported.

The dead were passengers Carolyn Sorvoja, 48, 10-year-old Rosemarie Sorvoja, and pilot Ted Smith, 59, wrote United Press International. UPI noted that it was initially unclear whether the passengers onboard intended to volunteer, or if the pilot was taking the two passengers to spectate on the race.

The AP said the two Sorvojas had intended to volunteer in the Iditarod race.

Read more from GlobalPost: 2013 Iditarod race littered with past champions, record holder

Passengers and pilot had left Anchorage on Monday bound for the village of Takotna, which is located about a quarter of the way along the dog race, according to the Associated Press. The three all hailed from Anchorage.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center launched a search for the plane and eventually located the wreckage after an eight hour hunt.

The world-famous Iditarod sled dog race began its 2013 run on March 2, and features 67 racers from across the world, including a Brazilian and a Jamaican. The winner will take home a purse of $50,400 and a new truck, while the 29 top finishers split a $600,000 pot.