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He Drove Off Embankment, Then Got Lucky

A tree and a sharp-eyed driver help save him
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2019 7:24 AM CDT
Rescue personnel at the scene.   (Illinois (Ore.) Valley Fire District)

(Newser) – The driver of a Jeep who went off an embankment on a remote road likely would not have lived to tell the tale if not for three strokes of good luck: a single tree held him up after 50 feet, preventing a plunge of another 1,000 feet; a woman spotted skid marks the following morning and decided to investigate; and a team of paramedics and rescue workers happened to be conducting a drill nearby, reports the Oregonian. The accident happened on a rural road along the Oregon-California border, and the unidentified driver suffered a fractured leg, internal bleeding, and hypothermia.

“I thought I was going to die in my car" were his first words to rescuers from Illinois Valley Fire District, per KTVL. Authorities say he likely would have if not for Laurie Bowers of Oregon's Happy Camp, who saw the skid marks Saturday morning and called authorities after spotting the Jeep, which wasn't visible from the road. The driver was trapped from about 2am to 10am. It would have taken rescue teams much longer to get there, but a team was drilling in nearby Cave Junction. “Everything just worked out real nice,” says a spokesman for Illinois Valley Fire. (In California, a driver went off a cliff in Big Sur and was found safe a week later.)

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