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Woman survives 400-foot drop after her car goes over Orange County canyon's edge

Photo shows northbound California State Route 133 and sign stating distances to Irvine Boulevard, Route 241 Toll and Toll Plaza.
Photo shows northbound California State Route 133 and sign stating distances to Irvine Boulevard, Route 241 Toll and Toll Plaza.
Daniel/flickr Creative Commons

A 39-year-old woman was rescued Wednesday after her car went over the edge of the northbound 241 Toll Road in Irvine and down 400 feet into a canyon.

The single-car accident happened shortly before 7 a.m. A tree in a dry creek bottom stopped the car about 30 feet off the ground. The woman sat in her vehicle for about an hour before firefighters could safely extricate her.

"At that point the vehicle became the issue because there were power lines in the vicinity," said California Highway Patrol officer Denise Quesada. "So we had to have Edison come out to cut the power to the local area [so] our tow truck could safely get to the vehicle and pull it down."

The woman's seatbelt may have also played a major role in saving her life, Quesada added.

"This is one of those collisions that you see the distance that the vehicle went, and you can't help but think this person is very lucky that they are still alive — let alone have just moderate injuries, that she wasn't severely injured," said Quesada. 

What caused the car to to go over the canyon's edge is still under investigation.