A plane carrying three people and 53 dogs crash-landed on a Wisconsin golf course Tuesday – with all human and canine occupants miraculously walking away relatively unscathed.
First responders found the twin-engine plane around the third hole of Western Lakes Golf Club after it crashed near the fifth hole as heavy snowfall blanketed the area Tuesday morning, according to local reports.
Course maintenance workers a few hundred feet from the crash site immediately rushed to help, the club’s general manager told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“I was in a building up here and didn’t hear anything, but there was a couple employees working on the course that heard this plane coming down and witnessed it hitting the fifth green, crashing between two trees, (going) through a marsh and another 100 feet through the second hole fairway and onto the third hole, where it uprooted another tree and came to a rest,” general manager Jason Hoelz explained to the newspaper.
“In total, it skidded around a few hundred yards.”
The plane was reportedly en route from New Orleans to Waukesha to drop off the dozens of dogs at the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha (HAWS).
The golf course workers pulled out the three passengers, who suffered non-life threatening injuries, and helped take the dogs out of the plane in their crates, Hoelz said, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“I mean disbelief to start with, but obviously the first question is, is everybody okay?” Hoelz told Fox 6. “And thankfully the answer is yes.”
Some of the dogs suffered minor injuries, but nothing serious.
“Just bumps and scrapes for the dogs, which is incredible,” HAWS Director of Organizational Development Maggie Tate-Techtmann told the television station.
“They’ve been through a lot. They’ve had a much busier Tuesday than they anticipated.”
Vans waiting at the airport for the plane’s arrival quickly drove to the golf course where workers quickly began to collect and treat the dogs, which are expected to be up for adoption without a hitch, according to the Journal Sentinel.
The cause of the crash is unknown as the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board probe the incident.
Hoelz noted if the crash occurred a week earlier, when the weather in Wisconsin was nicer, golfers might’ve been on the course as the plane went down.
“There were over 200 golfers here last Thursday,” Hoelz told the newspaper. “A week ago, it would’ve crashed onto golf holes that people were playing on.
“It could’ve been bad.”