Woman Survived for 7 Days Stranded on a Beach After Driving Off 200-foot Cliff in Big Sur
A woman who had been missing for over a week was found alive on July 13 after driving her Jeep off a cliff in Big Sur, California.
Angela Hernandez was last heard from on July 6 when she sent a text to her family that she was driving down California’s Highway 1 from Oregon. She was found last week by hikers who noticed her Jeep Patriot at the bottom of a cliff.
The hikers, Chad and Chelsea Moore, told local news station KION that they saw the car while looking for a place to fish on the Big Sur coast. They continued down a trail to find Hernandez’s car.
“It looked like there wouldn't have been any survivors,” Chelsea told the station. “The car was pretty bad. And there weren't any signs of people or blood or anything.”
The couple gathered items from the Jeep, including the license plate, to hand off to police. They walked back to their campsite, about a mile up the beach, and found Hernandez.
“We turned around and Angela was right there in the rocks, just looked like hell,” Chad said in the interview. “She was happy at the same time, she was really happy to see us.”
Hernandez told local authorities that she swerved to avoid hitting a rabbit in the road, sending her car off a cliff, about 200 feet down into the rocks. She said she woke up to water filling her car. She broke the driver’s window and escaped. Hernandez spent the next week on the beach, using her car’s radiator hose to siphon water from a nearby stream.
“I'd walk up and down the beach looking for new high grounds, screaming 'help' at the top of my lungs, and collecting water falling from the top of the cliffs,” Hernandez wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Every night, I'd find the highest point I could climb up to and find somewhere to fall asleep before the tide would rise. Every morning, I'd wake up soaked in sea mist and watch the sun rise.”
The Moores called 911. Hernandez was airlifted to a local hospital and reunited with her family.
WATCH: 2018 Happiest Seaside Towns
Hernandez remains hospitalized. She suffered a brain hemorrhage immediately after the fall. She also had four fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, ruptured blood vessels in both eyes, a fractured collarbone and intense sunburn.
“My sister is alive, she’s talking, and she’s still trying to come to understanding everything,” Hernandez’s sister wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend. “She’s a fighter and she fought this long and she will continue to. It’s not going to be an easy recovery.”