A firefighter curious about a damaged marker on a Sierra foothills highway discovered a father and son in an SUV that had plunged 500 feet down a steep slope.
The pair was rescued in a four-hour operation during the rain and high winds on Monday.
The SUV could not be seen from the roadway, but a Cal Fire firefighter heading back from a call stopped to examine a road marker that had been flattened on the shoulder of Highway 49 south of Coulterville, Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremey Briese told Sacramento TV station KOVR.
Looking over the dropoff, the firefighter saw the Toyota 4Runner overturned below.
Rescue teams including Cal Fire and Maricopa County responders reached the pair, who were conscious and able to communicate, and they were taken to a hospital.
The driver, Scott Anderson, 51, of Rancho Cordova, had lost control of the SUV on the wet pavement, the California Highway Patrol said. The vehicle flipped several times as it plunged down the hillside. Anderson and his 11-year-old son were trapped for close to an hour before the firefighter discovered them around noon.
The Andersons’ injuries were described as moderate. Briese said they had been wearing seatbelts.
Also during Monday’s storm, another driver on Highway 49 was killed when a tree crushed her car, the CHP said.
The 79-year-old Marysville woman was northbound at La Barr Meadows, just south of Grass Valley, when the tree fell onto her 2019 Nissan Rogue. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three other cars were involved in the crash, and one other driver — a Grass Valley woman — suffered major injuries. (Taken from eastbaytimes by BAY AREA NEWS GROUP)