A couple from Oregon, Shauna McHugh and Tobias Swanson, stopped at a scenic overlook at Crater Lake National Park.
When they got out of their Volkswagen Passat, they forgot to put on the emergency brake.
With McHugh’s dog, Haley, still in the car, it rolled backward across the parking lot for approximately 100 feet and then plunged over the brink of the caldera.
As the car tumbled down the abyss, Haley, a Dingo-Akita mix, jumped, fell, or was plucked by her guardian angel-dog out of the open sunroof. It took her around 15 minutes to make her way approximately 600 feet to the top of the slope to rejoin her owner.
The car, however, broke apart as it plunged 1,100 feet down to the lake, scattering parts of the engine, transmission, chassis, drive train, and personal belongings all along the rocky wall.
Although dog and humans are safe, cleaning up the debris is going to be a massive job for park workers. The slope is long and steep, covered with loose rock. Snow begins to accumulate in October which would make removal difficult and the melting snow in the spring could carry contaminants from the wreck into the pristine lake.
Plans are being made to use a helicopter to remove the larger pieces followed by climbers rappelling over the side to remove the remaining debris.
Park officials are reminding people to set their emergency brakes, but the last time a car crashed down into the lake was October, 1922. The story