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Sergeant describes saving woman who survived 7 days after cliff plunge

CBS News logo CBS News 7/17/2018

One of the first responders who saved a 23-year-old woman seven days after her car plunged off a California cliff is describing the rescue. Angela Hernandez survived for a week before hikers found her jeep and, a short time later, Hernandez herself at the bottom of the cliff. Sergeant Dustin Hedberg was one of the first on the scene after Hernandez was found.

"That she was still alive was incredible," Hedberg said. "When they told me over the radio that she was alive I actually had to ask again a few minutes later to make sure that I had heard that right."

Hiker Chelsea Moore called 911 after she and her husband discovered Hernandez's jeep last Friday.

a group of people on a rock near the ocean: big-sur-woman-rescued-2018-07-14.jpg © Facebook / Monterey County Sheriff big-sur-woman-rescued-2018-07-14.jpg "There's no one in the vehicle, but we found a person like a quarter-mile away," Moore said.

Authorities had been looking for Hernandez for a week, not knowing she had plummeted down a steep cliff on a long stretch of coastal highway.

"There were no obvious signs at that location that a car had gone over," Monterey County sheriff Steve Bernal said.

Hedberg and his team hoisted Hernandez over 200 feet to the top of the cliff, where she was airlifted to a hospital.

a person looking towards the camera: Angela Hernandez in undated photo © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Angela Hernandez in undated photo "We had to build a rope system using the trees at the edge of the cliffside for anchors and a pulley system to pull her and the rescuer up," Hedberg said.

In a Facebook post, Hernandez says she had swerved off the road to avoid hitting an animal. She says she suffered a brain hemorrhage, fractured ribs, broken collar bones and a collapsed lung.

"For her to survive for seven days on the coast with waves crashing over you at times, with injuries she had, is amazing," Bernal said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for Hernandez.


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