4 people survived the ‘miracle’ after Tesla plunged off the infamous California cliff
MONTARA, Calif. – A 4-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy and two adults survived Monday after their vehicle plunged off a Northern California cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway near a designated area. called Devil’s Slide is known to be a place of death. wreck, officials said.
The Tesla The sedan plunged more than 250 feet (76.20 meters) down the highway and crashed into an overhang of rock. It appeared to have flipped a few times before landing on its wheels, slamming into the cliff just a few feet from the waves, according to the report. Brian Pottenger, battalion commander ofCoastal Fire District/Cal Fire.
Crashes along the Devil’s Slide, a steep, rocky, and winding coastal area about 24.14 kilometers south of San Francisco, halfway between Pacifica and Montara, rarely have survivors. On Monday, the victims were initially listed in critical condition but all four were awake and alert when rescuers arrived.
“We go there all the time for cars to go over the cliff and they never live. This is truly a miracle,” Pottenger said.
Officer Mark Andrews said that based on the initial investigation, the California Highway Patrol did not believe the Tesla was operating in Autopilot or Full Autopilot at the time.
The condition of the road is also not believed to have been a factor in the crash. At the position where the sedan plunged into the cliff, there was no guardrail.
“The car deviated from the main part of the road. For what reason, we don’t know,” Andrews said.
Witnesses called 911 around 10:15 a.m. and crews set up ropes from the highway to lower the firefighters to the cliff, the battalion commander said. At the same time, other firefighters watching the sedan through binoculars suddenly noticed movement — a sign that at least one person was still alive.
“Every one of us was shocked when we saw the movement from the front windshield,” Pottenger said.
The incident turned from what could have been a body search to a rescue operation lasting several hours amid constant rain, high winds, slippery roads and crashing waves. The doors were smashed against the cliff and stuck shut, so firefighters were forced to cut the victims out of their vehicles with so-called “living jaws” tools.
Crews pulled the children out of the rear window and lifted them up the cliff by hand in a life-saving basket using a rope system. They were taken by ambulance to the hospital with musculoskeletal injuries.
“They were more scared than hurt,” Pottenger said.
However, the adults were injured and had to be lifted off the cliff by helicopter. Both were then taken to the hospital, the battalion commander said. It is unclear whether the four occupants are members of the same family.
Officials are investigating what caused the Tesla to veer off the highway at that point.
“I don’t even enjoy driving it,” Pottenger said. “It’s definitely a dangerous stretch of California.”