Bay Area/ North SF Bay Area/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 20, 2024
VIDEO: Sonoma County Sheriff's Helicopter Saves Crash Victim off Sonoma CoastSource: Sonoma Sheriff

In a daring cliff-side rescue, the Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter team pulled off a miraculous save, plucking a critically injured crash victim from what could have been their untimely demise. Early yesterday morning, the driver of a vehicle that had careened some 200 feet off the Sonoma Coast was saved thanks to the swift actions of the Henry-1 rescue helicopter crew and local emergency services.

The incident began with an automated SOS from the Ford vehicle's crash notification system, the precise coordinates provided by the 9-1-1 system led responders to the precarious scene near Jewell Gulch on HWY 1. Remarkably, a sturdy tree halted the vehicle's descent, preventing what could have been a far graver outcome. A California State Parks Ranger discovered the wreck and descended the steep embankment to search for survivors. The information about the extent of the rescue operation was outlined in a Facebook post by the Sonoma Sheriff's Office.

Henry-1's crew, along with a paramedic from the Coast Life Support District, took to the skies on a 100-foot longline to the mangled car but found it empty. This prompted an intensive search of the surrounding tough terrain to locate anyone who may have been ejected during the crash. Fire personnel from the Monte Rio Fire Protection District and the Timber Cove Fire Department were deployed via rope systems to assist below.

Some 45 minutes after combing the area, the Henry-1 Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) was again airborne, scanning ravines, when evidence of disturbance caught their eye—it was about 300 feet down from where the vehicle lay to waste. A further search down the ravine led them to the victim, who was found lying at the base of a tree, some 350 feet from the original site of the accident. The crew's tenacity embodied a bridge between despair and hope for the victim facing critical injuries.

Following the discovery, the victim was secured into a rescue device by the paramedic and the TFO and swiftly transported to the Sonoma County Fire District helicopter, Sonoma County 1, which then ferried the injured party to a local trauma hospital in what can only be described as a race against the clock, confirming that life, against all odds, would endure—the victim is now expected to survive.