Jul 19, 2010 9:18 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
A Carlsbad, California woman is recovering after spending five days at the bottom of a ravine near Santa Maria.
Travelers spotted the woman and her car Friday morning.
Investigators believe the accident happened five days before that. The woman's husband had reported her missing July 8.
"I've never witnessed, experienced, or heard of anything remotely close to this," said Reggie Julius of the California Highway Patrol.
Officers are still baffled that the woman who crashed 300 feet down an embankment and lived on the rock floor below for five days.
Even more incredible is how she was found.
A family traveling from Phoenix to Pismo Beach just happened to stop at the right spot to walk and water their dogs. A woman walked to the edge of the embankment and noticed the totaled car.
"She had a blanket, a flashlight and a couple of water bottles, but she did sustain herself by filling the water bottles with the river water," said Julius.
The travelers helped the woman up to the road and called for help.
Officers say it is a chance encounter that never should have happened.
"You physically have to get out of your vehicle, out of your car and walk down to the embankment and look down," said Julius, "and even in some areas of that embankment in looking over the edge, still wouldn't have been able to see the vehicle."
The woman in the ravine had a cell phone, but that area is a dead spot. She had also honked her horn so much trying to get attention, that the car battery died.
Officers are still trying to figure out why the car left the road in the first place-- she has no memory of the actual incident.
She suffered scrapes and bruises but is expected to be just fine.