RCMP find Yukon Quest musher Cody Strathe OK

RCMP reached Yukon Quest musher Cody Strathe this afternoon after he activated a help button located on his tracking device early Tuesday morning.

Strathe activated help button early this morning

Musher Hugh Neff celebrating after crossing the Yukon Quest finish line at Takhini Hot Springs, Yukon making him the official runner up. (Yukon Quest)

RCMP reached Yukon Quest musher Cody Strathe this afternoon after he activated a help button located on his tracking device early Tuesday morning.

Race officials say Strathe and his dogs are OK and are about 40 kilometres outside the Braeburn checkpoint.

Strathe's kennel's Facebook page reports he was down to six dogs with two in the sled and could not continue. Officials say he and his team are being assisted into the Braeburn checkpoint.

Because he activated the help button on his tracker, Strathe has been withdrawn from the race.

Musher Dave Dalton from Healy, Alaska, scratched in Pelly Crossing after one of his dogs died.  Dalton said that the decision to pull out was for the well-being of his team. The Yukon Quest's head veterinarian said that the dog will be taken to Whitehorse for a necropsy.

Musher Brent Sass, who was injured Sunday, is still recovering after his accident. Sass’s handler Josh Horst said Sass was crossing a lake near Braeburn and nodded off. Sass lost his balance and fell backwards onto the ice. The musher knocked his head and may have suffered a concussion.

The injured musher spoke to the press Tuesday. He said he was able to care for his dogs and drive the team, but every little task was taking a long time and he realized he was putting his dogs and himself at risk.

"As hard as it is to not finish the race, I feel that it was the right decision. Even sitting back here feeling all right today, I don't feel like I could have continued the race," said Sass.

Sass said he'll back for next year's race but will come better prepared. He plans on eating better, getting more rest to prevent nodding off, and said he will start wearing a helmet.

Hugh Neff was second to cross the finish line at 11:58 a.m. PT on Monday.

Matt Hall from Two Rivers, Alaska, is currently in the running for third place as he rests at Braeburn lodge, followed by Ken Anderson, from Fairbanks, Alaska.

The 1,500-kilometre journey began Feb. 1 in in Fairbanks. Originally the trail was meant to be 1,600 kilometres, however this year the trek was cut short due to poor weather conditions. 

with files from CBC's Paul Tukker