updated 06/29/2011 AT 12:35 PM ET
•originally published 06/29/2011 AT 2:30 PM ET
After a private plane crashed into a garage in Charlevoix, Mich., on Friday, an improbable story emerged: the lone human survivor, 16-year-old Austin Hatch, had lived through another fatal plane crash eight years earlier.
On Saturday, a second story emerged that seemed almost as unbelievable. While the two crashes had made Hatch an orphan, his dog, a Labradoodle named Brady, survived the accident.
Brady’s survival is even more incredible given that another family dog, a sheltie-collie mix named Alli, was found dead at the scene Friday.
According to Julie Whitley, the animal control supervisor for the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Department, a call came in Saturday about a stray dog found less than a mile away from the crash site. The 3-year-old Labradoodle was taken to the Charlevoix Humane Society, where a scan of both dogs’ microchip tags led back to the Hatch family.
“The dog seemed perfectly fine,” Whitley tells PEOPLE. “No injuries. No broken bones. It was scared, and it was wet, but it seemed fine.”
Brady, who spent the weekend at the shelter, has since been retrieved by a Hatch family friend. “She indicated that this was actually Austin’s dog,” Whitley says. “They were assuming the worst since Alli had been found dead in the wreckage. When they notified Austin’s step-sister that the dog was still alive, she was crying on the phone.”
Hatch has been in a medically-induced coma and sustained bruising to his brain, but doctors are hopeful that he will be able to make a full recovery, after which he’ll have a happy dog waiting for him to come home.
“It’s an absolute miracle that the dog came out of it totally unscathed,” Whitley says. “An absolute miracle.”
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