A plane flying from New Orleans to Wisconsin crashed Tuesday morning just outside Milwaukee. In it were 53 rescue dogs.
The twin engine turboprop airplane crashed onto the green of the Western Lakes Golf Club in Pewaukee, Wis., just west of the city. It was a "catastrophic" landing that severed the plane's wings, Matthew Haerter, assistant chief at Lake Country Fire and Rescue, said at a press conference Tuesday.
"They came to rest several hundred feet after where they originally tried to place the aircraft," he said.
All three people and 53 dogs on the plane survived, though the three people and some pups suffered minor injuries. Staff veterinarians sent 21 of the dogs to Humane Animal Welfare Society for further treatment, and the rest to other shelters in the area, according to The Washington Post.
Maggie Tate-Techtmann, a director for the Humane Animal Welfare Society, said at the press conference that all the dogs will be available for adoption in the coming days as soon as they are ready.
"It's just a lot of comforting them and caring for them," Tate-Techtmann said. "Every animal is different just like we are so we are all going to react a little bit differently, but between our behavioral care as well as our medical care, I'm very confident we can make all of them comfortable."
Tony Wasielewski, the deputy fire chief who was part of the team of responders to the wreckage, has already taken home one of the pups, naming her CeeCee.
HAWS raised $7,000 in three days to help cover "unforeseen medical and other costs" from the crash.
This was one of HAWS's regular trips transporting at-risk adoptable dogs from Southern states to shelters in Waukesha, Wis., the Washington Post reported. These trips serve to make room for other animals in overcrowded shelters in the South, HAWS Communications & Media Specialist Jennifer Smieja said. Spay and neuter programs, which remove animals' reproductive organs, are more common in Waukesha and lead to less overpopulation of pets in this region, she said.
"We have lots of adoptive homes waiting for animals here, and we also have room to house the animals comfortably in our shelter, so it makes sense for us to work together and welcome those in need, with the end result of much less euthanasia," Smieja said.
These trips usually occur twice a month, and most are done by van.
"While van transports are more common, we receive flight transports on average about every 6 weeks, depending on need and if the flight organizers have sponsorship," she said.
About 300 gallons of jet fuel spilled onto the golf course and into a marsh, as most of the plane's fuel was stored in the wings of the aircraft.
Jet fuel is highly flammable when exposed to a source of ignition, but because "the vast majority" of the fuel evaporated during the crash, Haerter said the current situation is "more of an environmental issue than a fire issue."
"We are taking steps down there to keep the fuel and to keep any run-off from the marsh," Haerter said.
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