Crash victim rescued after two days stranded on Big Sur cliff

A young man is recovering after a crash left him stranded on a cliff near Big Sur for two days.

Even first responders are still in shock about the rescue and outcome.

"We were like we just can't believe that we rescued a person that had been down there for two days alive," said CHP helicopter flight officer Jon Ontiveros.

It happened near Big Sur. An employee at the Post Ranch Inn left work Sunday night, but hadn't been seen since.


Driver survives being ejected through rooftop, falling over Big Sur cliff

A driver was rescued after he told authorities that he swerved to miss deer in Monterey County, veered off the roadway, was ejected from his sunroof and rolled down a Big Sur cliff and was stranded for about two days. 

"We're always going in expecting the worst but hoping for the best," says CHP airplane pilot Brad Lamb.

CHP's fixed wing patrol aircraft was called out. They spotted a crash scene near Hurricane Point. The vehicle had gone 450 feet down an embankment and near the car was a person.

"Sure enough, he had made a makeshift flag and was trying to flag us down," said Jake Scott, a CHP airplane flight officer.

Big Sur Fire Chief Matt Harris was the first rescuer to reach him. He had to lower himself down the cliff, since there was no access from the beach below.


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"We used ropes. I was lowered down for the most part, but I had to blaze my own trail," said Harris.

The victim was seriously injured, but alert. He said a deer had smashed his windshield, sending the car careening off the road, and ejecting him in the process. He had nearly given up on being rescued.

"He was overcome, overcome with emotion and joy, and he knows he was very, very lucky," said Harris.

CHP called in a second aircraft, this one a helicopter. It lowered a rescue vest to pick the young man up.

"We hauled him up from the crash site to highway one where the ambulance was standing by," said Ontiveros.

He was checked out by emergency crews on the ground. Ultimately, the helicopter picked him up again. He was flown to the hospital in Salinas where he's expected to make a full recovery.

"We were so grateful that we have all that training and multi-agency response to make it all happen," said Harris.