Angela Hernandez probably shouldn’t be alive right now. Her recovery will take a lot of grit and determination, but she’s more than proven that she has what it takes.
The young woman was taking a road trip from Portland to California when she suffered a serious accident.
She was traveling through a beautiful stretch of redwood trees along the California coast, know as Big Sur, on July 6. The locale is breath-taking, but part of its beauty is because of its steep cliffs that butt up against the ocean.
As she drove, some small critter ran across the road. Not wanting to hit it, Hernandez swerved — and went careening over a cliff.
“I don’t really remember much of the fall,” she later wrote. “They say I fell somewhere around 250 feet. The only thing I really remember after that was waking up.”
Her jeep had landed on the shoreline, and was completely totaled. When she woke up in the car, there was water up to her knees and she was bleeding.
Everything hurt, but she knew she had to escape from her car, so she broke her window and crawled out into the water.
There was a reason she was in pain. She had four fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, ruptured blood vessels in her eyes, a brain hemorrhage, and broken collarbones.
Her shoes were nowhere to be found, and her car was a total wreck. She had no way to contact anyone, and had landed on a remote strip of beach.
In the distance, she could see a road on the cliffside, but the cars were so far and there was no way she could get to the road.
“The next few days kind of became a blur,” she wrote on Facebook. “I’d walk up and down the beach in search of an another human being. I’d climb on rocks to avoid the sharp sand, walk along the shore to avoid the hot rocks, and air wrestle tiny crabs.”
She found a high spot she would perch on every day, desperately trying to attract the attention of the cars on the road, but they were just too far.
After a few days, dehydration set in. She managed to find both a length of rubber tubing from the wreck and a trickle of fresh water dripping down the cliff face, and managed to stay alive for seven days.
Badly sunburned, hungry, and with major injuries, Hernandez continued to think positively. She imagined her life after this ordeal, when she’d see the people she loved and the food she was craving.
On day seven, some hikers stumbled across the remains of her car and took some parts of it back to notify authorities. Hernandez saw them walking nearby and thought she was dreaming at first.
“I screamed, ‘HEEELLLPPPPP!’ and then got up as quickly as I could and ran over to her,” Hernandez wrote. “She was with a man and I don’t think they could believe their eyes. They acted so quickly. She ran down the beach and up a trail to go find help while the man stayed with me and gave me fresh water.”
She was rescued! When she got to the hospital she found out just how extensive her injuries were, but she’s still cheerful and positive.
“I feel like I have everything I’ve ever wanted,” she wrote. “I’m sitting here in the hospital, laughing with my sister until she makes broken bones hurt. I’ve met some of the most beautiful human beings that I think I’ll ever meet in my entire life. I’ve experienced something so unique and terrifying and me that I can’t imagine that there isn’t a bigger purpose for me in this life.”
“I don’t know, you guys, life is incredible.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.