A woman survived on grass and water in the Arizona desert for six days after a car crash left her stranded with serious injuries. The woman, who has not been publicly named, crashed near the town of Wickenburg, about an hour’s drive northwest of Phoenix earlier this month.
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She had lost control of her car while driving on the US60 and gone through a fence before dropping 50ft and landing in a mesquite tree, where she remained suspended above the ground. The 53-year-old had stayed in the car for several days before trying to walk towards railway tracks seeking help, but she was too weak to reach them. She was found after two state transportation workers and a rancher were moving a cow along the highway.
They spotted the gap in the fence and then found the car in the tree. A trooper from the state’s Department of Public Safety was called but he found the car was empty.
The group followed footprints to the Hassayampa riverbed where they found the woman severely dehydrated. Her eyes were swollen and she could barely move with broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and a head injury, and wearing just wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops.
“She was in the fetal position, and there was no movement. We started asking her a bunch of questions: ‘How long have you been here? Do you have any pain?'”, said Zach Moralez, Arizona transportation worker. “I don’t know if she could have made it there another night. She was in pretty rough shape when we found her.”
A helicopter came to the riverbed and airlifted the woman to a hospital.
“The diligence of the ADOT crew and teamwork of everyone involved is exemplary and to be commended,” Arizona Department of Safety Col. Frank Milstead said. “Due to their outstanding efforts, this woman’s life was saved.”