Grandma Survives 5 Days Trapped in Car After Crash

Sharon Leaming lived on bananas until a family member found her
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2017 10:15 AM CDT
Grandma Survives 5 Days Trapped in Car After Crash
Leaming is on her way to recovery.   (GoFundMe)

A 70-year-old Washington state woman has been reunited with loved ones after an ordeal that trapped her in her car at the bottom of an embankment for five days. KING-TV reports Sharon Leaming was driving back to Rochester from her vacation home in North Cove on Tuesday when she suffered a medical emergency that left her "sleepy," "dizzy," and with part of her face "[dragging] down a little," per her daughter, Tammie Pennypacker. "She knew that she was in trouble," Pennypacker says of her mother's thoughts right before she flew off Highway 12 and 30 feet down an embankment. She wasn't due home until Thursday, so her family didn't report her missing until then, and they joined in the search for Leaming, who's in the early stages of dementia. Her own nephew, Bob Stewart, found her Sunday when he noticed flattened brush and a tree with stripped-off bark, followed by yelling.

Per Pennypacker, Leaming couldn't move due to her injuries, and so she had leaned on the horn for a couple of days until the battery died. She used the tiny amount of water she had to keep her mouth moistened to scream for help and subsisted on two bananas; there were also Pop-Tarts, but Leaming didn't eat them because she was afraid of choking. Her cellphone was out of reach, though the Olympian notes rescuers tried to find her car by tracing the phone but came up empty. Inside Edition reports Leaming was dehydrated and unable to walk, so she was airlifted to the hospital. A GoFundMe page notes she suffered a busted knee, ankle, and heel, as well as a chest rupture, but she's now in good spirits, joking, and "already planning her next trip down the beach," Stewart tells KING. (A mom survived nearly two days in the Grand Canyon.)

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