A woman survived a nosedive into a canyon in San Diego Thursday night, when her Rolls Royce plummeted 70 to 80 feet and left her trapped upside down in the luxury car.
The ordeal started just before 6 p.m. on an infamous hill on Springer Road in Fairmount Park, a neighborhood in east San Diego that's bordered by State Route 94, Interstate 15 and Interstate 805.
The woman driving the Rolls Royce told NBC 7 on Friday that she put the car in neutral and was going to coast it to the bottom of the hill when suddenly she realized she couldn't stop the car.
She said she was trying to avoid colliding with a parked car when her vehicle traveled off the road into the ravine below.
The entire incident happened in a manner of seconds, the driver, who did not want to be identified, later told NBC 7.
A witness called for help, and the fire department dispatched two truck companies along with San Diego Fire Heavy Rescue Team 4.
“Rescue 4 is trained to do all sorts of low angle, high angle, confined space, trench rescues,” Battalion Chief David Picone explained. “They’re experts in the field.”
Thursday’s rescue put their training to the test. The luxury car had fallen 70 to 80 feet down the steep ravine, making it one of the most treacherous types of rescues for both them and the victim.
Sixteen police officers and firefighters, hook and ladder, pulleys, ropes and several strong backs made for a textbook rescue.
The 40-year-old victim was taken to the hospital, and her condition is unknown. However, Picone said the driver was conscious, talking and had stable vitals when rescuers reached her. She was the only person inside the car.
Police are investigating the exact cause of the accident.
“It appears she came around the corner and as she made the turn, she lost control and ended up taking some flips down the canyon,” Picone said.
“She landed right on her hood, so there could have been some significant injuries, so she’s pretty fortunate there,” Picone said.
“There were a lot of things playing in her favor. It was definitely lucky stars for her tonight.”
One longtime neighbor told NBC 7 speed is an issue on the hill and it’s common for cars to lose control.
“There was a sign put up telling them to slow down – I think to 10 mph – coming down the hill. It didn’t do any good,” Maria Reserva said.
“They run into the fence down there many times,” she added.
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