NAPA, Calif. (KTVU/BCN) - A North Bay woman is out of the hospital and is recovering at home after driving off a 450- foot cliff Tuesday.
Karla Zambrano, 20, was driving a 2007 Saturn north on Highway 121 south of Wooden Valley Road in unincorporated Napa County when the car went 450 feet down an embankment, CHP Officer Marc Renspurger said.
The call came in to the California Highway Patrol aerial rescue unit in Napa Tuesday morning.
"When we first arrived I said to myself 'oh no.' This is going to be catastrophic," said Shaun Bouyea, a CHP flight officer and paramedic.
Rescuers may never have found the car if it wasn't for a cyclist who happened to have been riding nearby and called 9-1-1.
The cyclist, Chuck Doyle, told us by phone it looked like the driver was turning the car around, and was straightening it out.
"Then it slowly drove off the road in a straight line. Never turned. Never braked. Then disappeared over the cliff. I asked myself if i really just saw that," he said.
"It appears she may have been making a u-turn and might have hit the gas versus the brake and went over the cliff. That is still very preliminary," said Bouyea.
The car landed on its side. The person who had been behind the wheel is a 20 year-old woman.
"I couldn't understand what she was saying. But i could hear her down there screaming," said Doyle.
Rescuers on the ground had to cut out the car windshield to get to the woman.
A passerby ran down the steep terrain to try and offer comfort.
The aerial unit had the dangerous job of navigating the helicopter through trees to get above her.
"It's very technical. There's a major tree canopy, we literally threaded the needle," Bouyea said.
The woman was wrapped tight and hoisted into the helicopter. Then it was off to the hospital.
The injuries are not life threatening. The woman is now home from the hospital. She survived the equivalent of a 45 story fall.
But that's not all. We're told she is 10 weeks pregnant, and that everything is fine.
Bay City News contributed to this report.