Car debris airlifted out of Crater Lake

Car debris airlifted out of Crater Lake
A net carry the remains of a VW from the waters of Crater Lake soars towards the caldera rim on Wednesday.

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, Ore. - A helicopter hoisted out the crumpled remains of a Volkswagen Passat that tumbled 1,100 feet into Crater Lake earlier this month.

The car went over a cliff at an observation site at the north junction of Rim Drive on Sept. 11.

"A couple was visiting Crater Lake National Park and parked at an overlook to enjoy a view of the lake," said Marsha McCabe with the park service. "Unfortunately they didn't set the parking brake and the car rolled into the caldera."

The car broke apart as it tumbled down the caldera. The couple's dog was inside and was thrown out of the sunroof. The pooch survived with minor injuries and climbed back up the wall to rejoin his family.

On Wednesday, a helicopter based in Grants Pass lifted the debris out of the caldera. Park superintendent Craig Ackerman said there was no time to waste.

"The urgency was basically that if we don't get the parts out before the snows come, then we can't recover them until next year," he said.

All the larger parts of the car were brought out, but a lot of debris remains along the steep bank all the way down to the lake. All that is left of the car now is a twisted ball of steel.