California is known for its beautiful coastal highways, especially near Sonoma. The coast offers scenic views to visitors and residents alike. Unfortunately, these sheer cliffs can be as dangerous as they are beautiful.
A woman was rescued by firefighters after her vehicle crashed off a cliff above Bodega Bay on Monday, June 10th. The Press Democrat reports that the 54-year-old woman who is a resident of Santa Rosa apparently drove her car off the cliffs onto the rocks below. The vehicle caught fire, and the woman was able to crawl out of a window of the car.
The woman was swimming further out to sea until she was stopped by one of the firefighters and trained swimmer, Heath Lesik, and brought back to shore. The woman was then transported to Santa Rosa Hospital for treatment for her injuries.
Eyewitnesses near the scene of the crash reported the burning vehicle 100 feet below the cliff face. Others called into 911 dispatchers indicated seeing someone swimming out to sea.
The Bodega Volunteer Fire Department was able to both rescue the woman and put out the vehicle fire. The U.S. Coast Guard also searched the water in the area to see if there were any other possible victims in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Evidence at the scene indicates that the woman accelerated her Volkswagen Beetle from a straight stretch of roadway. Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said in a statement that they are treating the incident as an attempted suicide.
Sgt. Crum also said that doctors had placed the woman under a 72-hour mental health watch.