Officials said that a 4-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy, and two adults survived Monday after their car plunged off a Northern California cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway near an area known as Devil’s Slide that’s known for fatal wrecks.
The Tesla sedan plummeted more than 250 feet (76.20 meters) from the highway and crashed into a rocky outcropping.
It appears to have flipped a few times before landing on its wheels, wedged against the cliff just feet from the surf, according to Brian Pottenger, a Coast side Fire Protection District/Cal Fire battalion chief.
Accidents at Devil’s Slide, a treacherous stretch of coastline between Pacifica and Montara that is steep, rocky, and winding, rarely result in survivors.
All four victims were conscious and alert when rescuers arrived on Monday, even though they were previously described as being in critical condition.
“We frequently visit that location since cars that fall off the cliff never survive. This was indeed a miracle, said Pottenger.
According to their preliminary investigation, the California Highway Patrol does not think the Tesla was on Autopilot or Full Self-Driving mode at the time, according to Officer Mark Andrews.
Additionally, it was thought that the state of the road did not cause the incident. At the location where the sedan plunged off the cliff, there was no guardrail.
“The vehicle left the main lanes of the road. We are unsure why, according to Andrews.
Around 10:15 a.m., witnesses dialed 911. According to the battalion chief, the personnel set up a rope system from the highway to lower firefighters down the cliff.
Other firefighters using binoculars to observe the sedan at the same time suddenly attended movement, indicating that at least one person was still alive.
Each of us was astounded when we noticed motion outside the front windshield, according to Pottenger.
After what had probably been a body retrieval effort, the incident became a rescue operation that took several hours while hampered by persistent rain, strong gusts, poor roads, and pounding waves.
Firefighters had to use the so-called “jaws of life” gear to cut the victims out of the automobile since the doors were smashed against the cliff and wedged shut.
Crews used a rope system to manually haul the children up the cliff after removing them from the back window in a rescue basket.
They had musculoskeletal injuries and were taken by ambulance right away to the hospital.
They were more terrified than wounded, according to Pottenger.
However, the adults had to be lifted by a helicopter up the cliff due to their severe wounds.
The battalion chief claimed that they were both flown to the hospital after that.
It was unclear if the four passengers belonged to the same family.
Authorities are looking into what led Tesla to leave the road at that location.
Pottenger admitted, “I don’t even like driving it. It is undoubtedly a dangerous section of California.