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Contact: Marsha McCabe, (541)594-3091
Contact: Pete Reinhardt, (541)594-3091
Helicopter operations at Crater Lake National Park safely removed automobile parts and associated debris within the caldera of Crater Lake that resulted from the 9/11/2010 auto mishap near North Junction. The helicopter, from Swanson Group Aviation in Grants Pass, Oregon, hauled out two rigged loads of debris and mangled car parts. Additionally, the skilled helicopter pilot was able to extract some of the larger items scattered along the caldera wall such as a seat, bumper, and muffler with the use of a grappling hook. It is estimated the operation removed approximately 80 to 90 percent of the remains of the 2003 Volkswagen Passat that went over the cliff.
Smaller pieces of debris are still scattered all along the path the vehicle followed on its tumble to the lakeshore. The second phase of the clean up will most likely required technical climbing to retrieve the remaining items. Park officials plan to conduct an operational safety review to determine how best to proceed. Protecting the pristine nature of the lake and ensuring the safety of personnel are the highest priorities.
Park visitors are reminded to always place their vehicles in "park" and set the emergency brake before exiting their vehicles along the scenic overlooks. Please keep hold of children and pets and enjoy the beautiful views of the lake from behind rock walls and wooden railings.