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Iditarod race: Snowmobile driver apologises for crash

Arnold Demoski Image copyright AP
Image caption The driver of the snowmobile said he had been drinking and the collision was an accident

The driver of a snowmobile that killed a dog and injured several others has said he did not deliberately drive into two dog-sled teams competing in a race.

The incident happened during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.

Race marshals said a man on a snowmobile first attacked one sled and later hit the sled that was following behind.

The man said the crash was an accident and he had been drinking.

"I hope they can forgive me," the snowmobile driver, Arnold Demoski, told the Alaska Dispatch News. "I want this community to forgive me and I want my employers to forgive me, and hopefully I can get over this alcohol problem."

The executive of the Iditarod Trail Committee said on Sunday that the group has "no reason to believe these were not intentional acts" based on accounts given by the sled teams.

Mr Demoski told Channel 2 News in Alaska that when he woke up and heard what happened, he looked at his snowmobile and knew he was to blame. He called police to confess and said he was sorry,

He said one of the mushers he hit, Jeff King, was his "favourite" growing up.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption One of Ms Zirkle's dogs was injured

Mr Demoski, who has been charged with assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and criminal mischief, appeared in court via video on Sunday.

A judge set his bail at $50,000 (£35,000).

"If the state had asked for $500,000, I probably would have granted it," said Magistrate Romano DiBenedetto.

Driver Jeff King, whose dog died in the crash, said Mr Demoski's driving into the race "did not seem like an accident".

Driver Aliy Zirkle said Mr Demoski "repeatedly attempted to harm her and her team".

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual event that takes place through some of Alaska's most remote areas between Anchorage and Nome. Competitors and their teams often encounter blizzards, gale-force winds and freezing temperatures.

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