Two women escaped death Tuesday when their SUV plunged down a 300-foot embankment and into the Russian River in Mendocino County.
The car, which was driven by a 20-year-old woman from Las Vegas, was going southbound on Highway 101 when the driver lost control of the car and it cartwheeled down a cliff and into the river, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The sedan was mostly submerged in the river, the CHP said.
The women had just enough air and just enough room to get out of the car, the Press Democrat reported. They then swam to shore and crawled up a cliff to get help.
"They were lucky," Hopland Fire Department Chief Mitch Franklin told the Ukiah Daily Journal. Franklin told the paper that the SUV landed upright on a rock in the river, and that the water surrounding the rock "was very deep."
Franklin noted that two years ago, a fatal crash occurred just 20 feet away from this one. "When we get a call about a vehicle in the river there, it's never good," he told the Daily Journal.
Paramedics gave medical aid to both the driver and the 21-year-old passenger, also from Las Vegas, and treated them for hypothermia, according to the Press Democrat.
The women were flown by medical helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where they were treated and released, according to the Press Democrat.
The 2008 Lexus SUV was traveling at about 70 mph before the crash, the Daily Journal reported.
Assistant Hopland Fire Chief Ron Roysum told the Press Democrat that the outcome of the crash was "an absolute miracle."
"My hat's off to the girls for their self preservation and wherewithal to get themselves out," he told the newspaper.