Happy Camp resident spots vehicle over embankment; driver trapped for eight hours

Courtesy: IVFD

Officials say that a driver who drove his car over an embankment Saturday morning may not have made it out alive if it wasn't for a curious bystander.

The Illinois Valley Fire District and American Medical Response was dispatched to a vehicle over a cliff past the Page Mountain Snow Park in California Saturday.

Upon arrival, units found a vehicle held up by a tree approximately 50 feet down a 40 degree-sloped embankment.

Officials say that the tree prevented the vehicle from falling 1,000 more feet down the cliff. Rescuers say that pulling the driver to safety was difficult due to the steepness of the cliff and the location of the car. The driver was stabilized and extricated by a rope haul system.

Rescuers say that the driver had been in the vehicle since 2:00 am Saturday. Crews did not get to the car until 10:10 am.

The driver suffered from hypothermia, a badly fractured leg and internal bleeding.

Illinois Valley Fire says the driver's first words to the rescuers were “I thought I was going to die in my car”. He was later flown to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.

Illinois Valley Fire District says that Laurie Bowers of Happy Camp was near the desolate area and spotted skid marks, then preceded to investigate and call authorities. The vehicle was not visible from the road. Officials thank Bowers and say that without her help, the patient would have most likely died.

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