MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - Monterey County Sheriff''s Office says Angela Hernandez, an Oregon woman who had gone missing while traveling through the Bay Area, was located Friday evening near Big Sur after hikers noticed her crashed Jeep over the side of a cliff.
Hernandez, 23, left her Portland home on Wednesday, July 4 to drive to Southern California to go to her sister's wedding. She was reportedly stopped responding to texts from family and friends on July 6 and was last seen in Monterey County.
The Sheriff's Office tweeted Friday at 8:13 p.m. that Hernandez was being transported to a hospital. Sheriff's officials had earlier tweeted at 7:47 p.m. that a search and rescue response was underway involving a white Jeep with Oregon plates over the cliff of Highway 1.
On Friday around 6:36 p.m., two hikers spotted a white 2011 Jeep Patriot over the side of a cliff in the area of state Highway 1, north of Nacimiento Ferguson Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The hikers continued down the trail and saw Hernandez, who was injured and showing signs of exposure to the elements. She was conscious when she was located. One of the hikers remained with Hernandez, and the other notified a campground host nearby. Rescue crews were able to bring her to an area where she was airlifted to the hospital.
Hernandez told the CHP she crashed when she swerved to avoid an animal in the roadway. She said she was able to survive by drinking water from the radiator of her vehicle.
KTVU spoke to Monterey County Sheriff's officials Friday night. They said Hernandez was alert and talking and that she claimed to have crashed July 6 and was complaining of a shoulder injury. Her Jeep was found partially in the water. Relatives had spent part of the last week searching the cliff-side for her.
Earlier this week KTVU reported there were new leads in the case after the woman had lost contact with her family when her phone died on July 6. According to San Mateo County Sheriff's detectives, the woman's disappearance was characterized as unusual.
San Mateo County Sheriff's officials said Hernandez had been checking in with family a few times a day before losing contact. But they were able to make a timeline of her movements.
On the week of Fourth of July, officials said she had traveled as far south as Half Moon Bay and told relatives she was going to sleep in her Jeep behind a Safeway store. By the next morning she texted her sister she was headed further south. Surveillance cameras at the store confirmed nothing was amiss.
That was the same day she lost contact with her family on Friday July 6. The following week, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's helicopters were involved in the search.
The date of the crash is still under investigation.
Bay City News Service contributed to this report