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Lifestyle & Human Interest

'It's a Miracle': Dog Is Lone Survivor in Fatal Plane Crash, Vet Stunned by Her Condition

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On Sunday, two pilots and a dog took off from Erie Municipal Airport in Colorado.

For reasons that are still being investigated and have not yet been made public, the plane went down in Broomfield, Colorado, shortly after taking off.

Both pilots — 50-year-old Devon Williams and 59-year-old Lee Russell King — perished in the crash, according to KDVR-TV.

Somehow, however, the dog, a 7-year-old pit bull named Chata, survived.

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A short while after the crash, a good Samaritan found the gray-and-white dog with a gash behind her ear wandering around the neighborhood. The person took her to a local shelter, which contacted the owners.

That’s when the dog’s incredible story came together: Her owner confirmed that she had been on the plane and that she was the sole survivor.

“Someone found Chata wandering around the neighborhood adjacent to the plane crash and brought her to a shelter where they kind of held onto her until they could contact owners and then the owners brought her here,” Ashley MacDonald, a veterinarian at Arrowhead Animal Hospital in Westminster, told KUSA-TV.

“The good Samaritan who brought her into the shelter wasn’t even from around here, was on vacation from out of town and just saw her wandering. So it was all of the good events lining up for Chata to get here,” she said.

The incident was a first for MacDonald, who expected Chata to show up in much worse shape, given the situation.

“I’ve never dealt with a plane crash victim,” she said, according to KDVR.

“It’s my understanding that there were two victims in the plane crash but she belonged to one of them,” MacDonald continued.

“I know that Chata’s family loves her so much and her dad, you know, passed doing something that he loved doing with her. I know that she even had little earmuffs in the plane when they would go up together, which is likely how she got that laceration.”

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Chata was a star patient, friendly and sweet, wagging her tail “the whole time,” and she was able to go back to her family the following day.

“I think for me this case was more about supporting the people while making sure that Chata was OK, because they were also in shock and it just broke my heart what they were going through,” MacDonald said. “So I wanted to make sure we got Chata settled as soon as possible.”

While the family is going through a time of grief, they have a connection to their late loved one through the pup he so loved.

“It’s a miracle,” MacDonald said. “Animals can do incredible things.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking