What to Know
- Angela Hernandez of Oregon had been missing since July 6 before being found on July 13
- Hernandez told authorities that she swerved to avoid hitting an animal, lost control and plunged down a cliff
- After being found by a couple hiking near Big Sur, Hernandez was airlifted to a hospital
An Oregon woman who was stranded for a week after her Jeep plunged 250 feet over a cliff into the ocean near Big Sur in California says she survived by drinking water dripping from moss.
Hernandez had been driving to her sister's home in Lancaster, near Los Angeles, on July 6 when a small animal crossed in front of her, causing her to swerve and lose control of her car, she wrote.
U.S. & World
"I don't really remember much of the fall," she wrote. "The only thing I really remember after that was waking up. I was still in my car and I could feel water rising over my knees. My head hurt and when I touched it, I found blood on my hands."
By breaking one of her windows, she was able to escape her partially submerged car and get to shore, where she fell asleep for an unknown amount of time. Every bone in her body hurt, she wrote.
"When I woke up, it was still daylight and it was only then that I had finally realized what had happened," she said.
The 23-year-old said she spent each day walking the isolated stretch of beach, searching for help, and was unable to make her way back up to the highway.
"I found a high spot I was able to climb up to and found myself there almost every day. I could see cars driving across the cliff and felt like if I could yell just loud enough, that one could hear or see me."
After three days, she began to feel the effects of dehydration. That's when she returned to her vehicle, rummaging around until she found a 10-inch black hose that appeared to have fallen off in the crash. A search for water eventually led her to a patch of moss, which she said had "water dripping down from it."
"I caught the water in my hands and tasted it. It was fresh!!!! I collected as much as I could in my little hose and drank from it for maybe an hour."
She was finally rescued Friday by two campers who spotted her mangled car.
That day, Henandez awoke and "saw a woman walking across the shore."
"I thought she was a dream," she said.
But Chelsea Moore wasn't a dream. She was a hiker who, along with her husband Chad, was searching the area for a good place to fish.
"As soon as we got to her, we realized, like, 'Whoa, she needs help,'" Chelsea Moore said, noting that Hernandez had two black eyes and was "looking rough" but was still able to stand and talk.
They called for help, and Hernandez was taken by helicopter to a hospital, where Hernandez says she was reunited with her family and discovered the extent of her many injuries, which included fractured collar bones and ruptured blood vessels, according to her Facebook post.
"For her to survive for seven days on the coast with waves crashing over you at times, with injuries that she had, is amazing," Monterey County Sheriff Steve Bernal said. "She was a fighter. She had the will to survive and I think most people in that situation probably wouldn't have lasted that long."
Despite the life-threatening ordeal, she said she feels like she has everything she ever wanted.
"I've met some of the most beautiful human beings that I think I'll ever meet in my entire life," she wrote. "I don't know, you guys, life is incredible."