A California man and his 11-year-old son miraculously survived after their car plunged 500 feet, thanks to an observant firefighter who spotted a crashed highway marker and drew his attention to the wreckage hidden in the undergrowth.
On Monday, Scott Anderson, 51, was driving with his son in their Toyota Corolla on Highway 49 between Coulterville and Bagby Recreation Area in Rancho Cordova when he lost control of the wheel during heavy rain in Mariposa County, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
The car slammed down the hill several times before coming to a stop in a ditch.
Fortunately, a firefighter stopped Cal Fire to investigate the disrupted road markings when he returned from a phone call later that evening, according to Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese — otherwise the pair might not have been found in time.
“The Cal Fire employee noticed signs of a possible traffic accident or this marking down,” Briese told CBS News. “Their brave actions and their skills have been able to find this vehicle.”
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Scott Anderson, 51, and his 11-year-old son were rescued after their car veered off Highway 49 in torrential rain on Monday and descended a 500-foot cliff. The couple survived with moderate injuries and are currently in hospital
Pictured is the sheer cliff where Anderson’s Toyota Corolla plunged 500 feet. The canyon is in an “extremely rural” area, according to Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese
Rescue teams may not have reached Anderson and his son had it not been for a sharp-eyed firefighter on his way home seeing a downed road marking after a phone call and stopped to investigate, noting the wrecked car in a ditch below.
“The area where this vehicle took off is an extremely steep gorge in an extremely rural area of the county… There was definitely someone looking out for them.”
Due to the ongoing rain and high winds, a group of search and rescue teams including Cal Fire and Mercy Ambulance managed to get the two to safety after a grueling four hours.
“I know the ropes they used were 600-foot ropes, and when they got to the patients, they had about 30 feet left,” Briese said.
Anderson and his son suffered moderate injuries, the department said, and were still in hospital on Wednesday.
Both Anderson and his son are currently in hospital with moderate injuries, authorities said
Rescue workers from Cal Fire and Mercy Ambulance are pictured with the father and son up the bluff – their rescue took four hours
According to a Facebook post from the Sheriff’s Office, father and son were talking when they were finally hoisted onto the embankment.
The department said they weren’t sure how long the couple had been trapped in the ditch.
DailyMail.com could not reach the department for comment.
Both father and son were wearing seat belts, the CHP said, and drugs or alcohol were not factors in the accident.