A 39-year-old woman was rescued from a car that went over the side of a highway in Orange County and dropped about 400 feet before coming to rest in a canyon on Wednesday morning.
The driver went off the 241 Toll Road in the Santiago Canyon area at about 6:45 a.m., according to Orange County Fire Department spokesman Steve Concialdi.
Twenty-fire firefighters responded, extricating the woman from the vehicle just after 8 a.m., Concialdi said on Twitter. California Highway Patrol officers were on scene, along with first-responders from multiple other departments.
“She’s very lucky to be alive. I’ve been in the Highway Patrol about 20 years and this is definitely up there with one of the more amazing things I’ve seen,” said CHP Sgt. Chris Johnson.
The car was stopped by a tree in a dry creek bottom about 30 feet off the ground initially, Concialdi tweeted and told KTLA. The incident came hours before a storm was slated to bring the largest rainfall amount Southern California has seen in two years.
“If we would have had the rain, it would have been extremely slippery and that car probably would have slipped even further down off the tree and come down,” Concialdi said in an interview. “She might not be alive today.”
Power lines overhead made it dangerous to remove the car, according to Concialdi’s tweet. A tow truck and large crane were working to remove the vehicle.
The car appeared to be a silver sedan, which was seriously damaged and resting northwest of Irvine Lake (map), aerial video showed.
The victim was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana with moderate injuries. Authorities planned to interview to find out what caused her to drive off the roadway.