Couple recalls finding stranded woman on remote California cliff

Photo: Angela Hernandez 

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP and KTVU) - A self-described lucky beachcomber says her luckiest find yet was a woman who survived a 250-foot car plunge off a cliff and a week stranded on a remote California beach.

Chelsea Moore of Morro Bay and her husband, Chad, were camping in Big Sur on the central California coast last Friday when they came upon a wrecked Jeep in the surf line and then a bit later found 23-year-old Angela Hernandez of Portland, Oregon.

"We saw a bumper first and we were like - huh - there's a bumper. That's weird. Then came around another bend and saw the car... It looked like there wouldn't have been any survivors," said Chelsea Moore. 

That's when the couple spotted a woman in the rocks. "I turned around and there was Angela was right there in the rocks and just looked like hell and she was happy at the same time. She was really happy to see us," said Chad Moore.

The couple said at that moment, the adrenaline hit. "We were like you were just in that car we just saw. And you're alive and you must need help," said Chelsea Moore. 

The couple approached Hernandez, who couldn't believe her eyes. She thought she was having a dream at first as she watched Chelsea approach her. 

"I screamed, 'help!' And then got up as quickly as I could and ran over to her. 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. He told me they were a married couple who loved the ocean and had been exploring when they had come across my destroyed vehicle," recalled Hernandez. "I couldn't believe that they were even real. I couldn't believe that we had finally found each other."

Hernandez says she survived by drinking water dripping from moss. She suffered a brain hemorrhage, collapsed lung, broken ribs and collarbones and severe sunburn.

She said at the end of the day, none of her injuries matter. "I feel like I have everything I've ever wanted. 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... I can't imagine that there isn't a bigger purpose for me in this life."

Hernandez is expected to recover from her injuries.