Portlander Angela Hernandez, 23, was rescued from a California coast on Friday after driving her Jeep of the edge of a cliff and surviving for a week on a small source of fresh water and no food.
Hernandez, who recounted the harrowing tale of her survival in a Facebook post yesterday, says she was passing through Big Sur on July 6 when she swerved for a small animal in the road.
"I don't really remember much of the fall," Hernandez writes. "They say I fell somewhere around 250 feet. 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."
After realizing where she was, Hernandez says she grabbed a multi-tool from the front seat and smashed the driver's side window, so she could escape and swim to shore.
"Every bone in my body hurt," she recalls. "I swam to the shore and fell asleep for an unknown amount of time."
On Thursday, July 12, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office put out a notice that it was searching for a missing person. According the report, Hernandez had slept overnight in her car at a Safeway parking lot in Half Moon Bay on the night of July 5, on her way from Portland to Lancaster, California.
"On July 6, 2018 at approximately 7:45 am," the Sheriff's report reads, "she notified her family that she was leaving the parking lot and headed back on the road to Lancaster […] It has been three days now and her family has not seen or heard from Angela."
Down on the beach, Hernandez, shoeless from the accident and getting more severely sunburned by the day, says she spent days wandering the shore in search of other people and calling out to cars she could see passing on the cliff above her, which could not see her.
"I found a high spot I was able to climb up to and found myself there almost every day," Hernandez writes. "I could see cars driving across the cliff and felt like if I could yell just loud enough, that on could hear or see me. That's all it would take to make it back to my family."
Hernandez later learned she had suffered a brain hemorrhage, fractured four ribs, broken both collar bones, collapsed a lung and ruptured blood vessels in both eyes.
It was after three days on the beach Hernandez says dehydration kicked in. So using a small black hose that had fallen from her car, she collected fresh water she found dripping from cliff moss.
"It would be a lie to say that things got easier as the days passed. They never did," Hernandez writes. "But, they sure got predictable."
Finally, a week after the crash, on July 13, Chelsea and Chad Moore, a couple hiking on the beach, found Hernandez and got help.
"Angela was found about 200 feet down a cliff," the Monterey County Sheriff's office reported. "She was transported by ambulance to a waiting helicopter, then to the hospital. Reports are she was talking and could walk."
Hernandez could not be reached for comment, but in her Facebook post she expresses gratitude for her rescuers, and ultimately, her life.
"I feel like I have everything I've ever wanted," she says. "I'm sitting here in the hospital, laughing with my sister until she makes broken bones hurt […] I don't know, you guys, life is incredible."