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Dog Survives Car’s Plunge Into Crater Lake

Crater Lake National Park

National Park News

Visitors Shauna McHugh and Tobias Swanson were enjoying the view from an overlook near North Junction on the evening of September 11th when their vehicle, a 2003 Volkswagen Passat, rolled into the caldera.  Further investigation revealed that the Passat rolled backwards in an arc across the parking area for approximately 100 feet, through a narrow opening between the rock wall and a clump of trees, and finally over the edge of the caldera, plunging more than 1,100 feet until it came to rest in 10 to 30 feet of water on the edge of Crater Lake. The initial investigation indicated that McHugh had failed to set the parking brake when she got out of the car. McHugh’s dog, “Haley,” a Dingo-Akita mix, was in the vehicle at the time of the accident and was ejected through the sunroof of the falling vehicle, but suffered only minor injuries. It took the dog approximately 15 minutes to make its way back up approximately 600 feet of talus slope to the parking lot. The Passat and associated debris within the caldera were later removed by a helicopter from Swanson Group Aviation. Two loads were hauled out, and the pilot was also able to employ a grappling hook to extract some of the larger items scattered along the caldera wall, such as a seat, bumper, and muffler.


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