We all remember the “miracle on the Hudson,” but this is the “miracle on the golf course”: a plane carrying three people and 53 crashed on a snowy Wisconsin golf course, but everyone on board miraculously survived.
The Humane Animal Welfare Society sponsored the flight, which was intended to transport dozens of rescue dogs from New Orleans to Waukesha, Wisconsin.
These flights are used to transport at-risk dogs from overcrowded kill shelters to rescues with more space. According to the Washington Post, HAWS organizes two transports per month, which are usually done by van.
This trip, however, took a dramatic and life-threatening turn. The twin-engine plane began to crash Tuesday morning above the Western Lakes Golf Club in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Employees reportedly watched as the plane became grounded, crashed between two trees, flew through a marsh, and landed near the third hole of the course.
“A couple of employees working on the course heard the plane coming down and saw it hit the fifth green… “It skidded around a few hundred yards,” the club’s general manager, Jason Hoelz, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The crash’s cause is still unknown. Lake Country Fire & Rescue arrived on the scene and jumped into action to save the passengers.
They extracted the plane’s three human passengers and began unloading the dozens of dogs on board — and everyone miraculously survived.
Despite the fact that the crash was later described as a “relatively catastrophic landing,” all humans and animals escaped relatively unscathed.
Maggie Tate-Techtmann, HAWS Director of Organizational Development, told the Journal Sentinel that some of the dogs had minor injuries such as “bumps and scrapes,” but are “doing remarkably well.”
“We are so grateful to the staff at Western Lakes Golf Club, who were wonderful to work with and for the emergency response teams in Waukesha, as well as our team and how they responded,” she said. “Everyone shifted so smoothly.”
The crash’s causes and environmental impact are still being investigated. However, the dogs, having survived both shelters and a plane crash, are optimistic about their future.
After being triaged by staff veterinarians, the dogs were all “expected to be placed up for adoption as planned in the upcoming days,” according to HAWS.
They began affectionately referring to these dogs as the “Western Lakes Loves,” after the golf course.
“It’s amazing that all of them are doing so well,” Tate-Techtmann told the Washington Post.
And the story ends happily for one of the dogs, who was adopted by one of the firefighters who saved her!
According to the Post, Tony Wasielewski was assisting in the unloading of the dogs from the crashed plane when one of them began licking his face. It was clear that the dog was emotionally attached to her rescuer.
Wasielewski already has two dogs and said he and his wife were thinking about getting another, so it was fate.
“As soon as the lady opened the door, she jumped in my arms and started kissing me,” Wasielewski said of the moment he adopted the dog, now named “CeeCee.”