Angela Hernandez describes days stranded on beach

Angela Hernandez described her days stranded on a beach waiting to be rescued. (Facebook)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland woman who went missing in California and eventually found alive days after driving off a cliff is telling her story.

Angela Hernandez wrote a lengthy Facebook post, describing what she remembers from the July 6 crash. Hernandez says she drove off a cliff and into the water and then spent nearly a week on the shore under the cliff waiting to be rescued. 

She says she swerved because a small animal ran into the road.

The next few days kind of became a blur. I’d walk up and down the beach in search of an another human being. I’d climb on rocks to avoid the sharp sand, walk along the shore to avoid the hot rocks, and air wrestle tiny crabs. I found a high spot I was able to climb up to and found myself there almost every day. I could see cars driving across the cliff and felt like if I could yell just loud enough, that one could hear or see me. That’s all it would take to make it back to my family. Just one person noticing me. I’d usually stay there until the sun became unbearable and then would find a way to slide myself back down to the shore.

 Hernandez describes the painful injuries she sustained and then how she was eventually rescued by a couple who came across some of her belongings while camping. 

It was warm out and I finally woke up before the sun had gone down. When I sat up, I saw a woman walking across the shore. I thought she was a dream. (I had a few just like this during the past few days).

I screamed, “HEEELLLPPPPP!” and then got up as quickly as I could and ran over to her. She was with a man and I don’t think they could believe their eyes. They acted so quickly. She ran down the beach and up a trail to go find help while the man stayed with me and gave me fresh water. He told me they were a married couple who loved the ocean and had been exploring when they had come across my destroyed vehicle. 

Hernandez was on her way to move in with her sister in the Los Angeles area and was last heard from on July 5.  Her family had reported her missing and frantically searched for her. They said she would not have been out of touch for that long and knew something was terribly wrong. 

Hernandez writes that she thought of her sister nearly the whole time she was stranded and that she is with her in the hospital recovering. 

I’ve experienced something so unique and terrifying and me that I can’t imagine that there isn’t a bigger purpose for me in this life.

I don’t know, you guys, life is incredible.

She says she survived by drinking water from the cliffs using a hose that she found in her car. 

On Monday, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office gave a press conference on Hernandez’s rescue, saying she was a “fighter” and that most people would not have survived as she did. They had searched some of the area where she drove off the cliff but did not see obvious signs that a car had gone over. Weather was an issue on July 12 and rescue efforts had to be delayed.  

“People don’t normally survive a plunge from the Big Sur coast like that. She’s very lucky,” Bernal said. 

The sheriff’s office then heard from the couple who found her on Friday and sent a crew down to rescue her. “They were shocked to find her,” Sheriff Steve Bernal said.

Bernal credited her finding a fresh water source off the cliff to how she was able to survive.

He cautioned that people should be aware that swerving to avoid an animal is dangerous, despite being the natural reaction. 

“Better to hit the animal or brake if you can. Especially small animals, sometimes you can’t avoid them,” he said.

The sheriff’s office will send a rescue team down the cliff to help recover some more of her belongings. 

“Angela is one amazing lady. I am very impressed with her survival skills,” Bernal said. 

KOIN 6 News Reporter Trevor Ault contributed to this report

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