A Tesla carrying a 4-year-old, 9-year-old, and two adults plummeted over 250 feet off a cliff in California onto a rocky bed below, flipping multiple times in the process, according to CBS News.
The area known as Devil’s Slide allegedly sees many fatal car wrecks along the Pacific Coast Highway about 15 miles south of San Francisco.
“We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle,” said firefighter Chief Brian Pottenger, who oversaw the rescue of the two adults and two children.
Based on its initial investigation, the California Highway Patrol says that it doesn’t believe the Tesla was operating in auto-pilot/self-driving mode at the time of the crash. Road conditions were also ruled out as a cause for the incident.
“The damage to the vehicle would indicate that it hit and it flipped several times,” Pottenger said.
“We were able to notice movement in the front seat through the windshield with binoculars, so we knew that we had at least one person that was alive,” he continued, saying that authorities were “very shocked when [they] found survivable victims in the vehicle,” he added.
The rescue operations took several hours as emergency workers battled consistent rain, wind, slick roads, and waves from the nearby ocean front. Firefighters were forced to use the “Jaws of Life” on the doors, which were jammed against the cliff.
The children were pulled from the car out of the back window and suffered musculoskeletal injuries with the firefighter saying they “were more scared than they were hurt.”
The two adults were originally thought to have traumatic injuries, however after being air-lifted to a hospital, they were found to have only sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Video of the helicopter rescue shows waves crashing into the rocky bed of the cliffside, where the Tesla fell into a narrow pocket rough terrain next to the water. Multiple workers set up a series of ropes to extract the victims from the roofless car, which was surrounded by debris and one of the car doors.
Devil’s Slide is allegedly known to rarely see survivors, especially in the area of the crash in question, which has no guard rails.
“The car traveled off the main portion of the roadway. For what reason, we don’t know,” said Officer Mark Andrews of the California Highway Patrol.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
— CAL FIRE CZU (@CAL FIRE CZU)
— San Mateo County S.O (@San Mateo County S.O)