ADELANTO, California -- Fire crews rescued a woman who had been missing for almost a week when she was found Saturday evening trapped inside of an overturned SUV in California.
Authorities had been searching for Barbara McPherson, 69, since she used the OnStar feature on her red 2007 Hummer to contact 911 on Oct. 23, according to the Ridgecrest Police Department in Kern County.
Crews with the San Bernardino County Fire Department headed out to reports of a traffic crash near Torosa Road, west of Highway 395, around 6:11 p.m. Saturday. When crews arrived, they found the Hummer rolled over.
Using rescue struts and a rope system, they were able to stabilize the vehicle. McPherson was extracted within an hour. Authorities said during the rescue operation, it was discovered that she had been reported missing days earlier.
The pair who found her recounted their experience. Doug Bearden and his girlfriend were hiking near Adelanto when he saw "something up on the hill that didn't look right."
The terrain was too rough to drive, so Bearden and his girlfriend made their way on foot to the red Hummer for a closer look. It turned out to be the overturned SUV.
"I got about 20 feet away from that car, and my hair on my neck started to stand up," he said.
McPherson could barely lift her head or talk, Bearden said. Neither he nor his girlfriend had their cellphones with them, so he waited at the crash site while she ran back to their car and called 911.
The SUV was "really in a bad spot and, I mean, it looks like it's going to continue rolling," she told a dispatcher, according to a recording of the call. "It just happened to stop on some rocks, but it's on the beginning part of the hill, rolling down. It's upside down."
Firefighters who responded to the scene found the Hummer on the 30-degree slope about 100 feet below the top of the ridge.
"The car was actually leaning downhill and was very unstable," said Capt. Steven Castagnola, of the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
Firefighters secured a line from a boulder to the Hummer, so that it wouldn't tumble down the hill. An urban search-and-rescue team then extracted McPherson and she was carried to a waiting helicopter, which whisked her away to a hospital.
She was listed in serious condition but was expected to survive. null
Woman missing for nearly a week found in overturned SUV