It’s so easy for us to take our safety for granted. From texting while walking down the street, to getting behind the wheel of the car, we rarely realize the danger lurking behind everyday activities. Disasters don’t happen often, but when they do, they strike like lightning.

When one woman encountered a freak accident, she found her life hanging by a thread. Still, she refused to give up hope, even though the elements were against her, and time was running out…

Angela Hernandez lived in Oregon, but she missed her family down in Southern California. One weekend in July, she decided it would be nice to visit them. It was almost the last choice she ever made.

It was a beautiful day when she set out from Portland in her white Jeep Patriot. Angela had only the hundreds and hundreds of miles of highway ahead to keep her company.

Facebook / Angela Hernandez

It was a long drive, but at least the trip would offer some breathtaking views along the way. Angela could put her camera to good use!

Facebook / Angela Hernandez

The most beautiful — and dangerous — part of the drive came when Angela passed through the Big Sur. The highway ran right along the California coast, with the Pacific Ocean only a cliffside away.

Travel Channel

Angela only remembered fragments of what happened next. The only thing that’s clear was that a small animal darted out into the middle of the winding road. She swerved to avoid it.

She lost consciousness as her car tore through the guardrail and plummeted 250 feet to the ocean below. It began to sink. Could anyone survive such a crash?

KOIN

When Angela awoke, water already filled up her vehicle up to her knees, and its level was rising. She grabbed a multi-tool she kept inside, smashed through the side window, and crawled out to the beach.

Bloody and battered, she rolled over on the shore. She sustained injuries all over her body, and her shoes were missing. Her feet ached as she clambered up the rocks to escape the incoming tide and get some rest.

Once Angela got her bearings, she saw that there was no way back up to the highway, or even a clear path along the beach. She needed to signal for help, but first, she had more pressing needs.

Incredible thirst overtook her, so Angela rummaged through her washed-up car for supplies. She came across a black hose that had fallen out and figured it could be useful.

Flickr / DSherland

She then found a mossy rock on the cliffside that dropped a bead of water every couple seconds. Angela attached one end of the hose to the rock and drank.

Angela spent hours trying to flag down a car from the road above, but she was too far down and the cars were going too fast. Days passed by…

Of course, police were searching for Angela after her family reported that she never showed up. But with so much ground to cover along the California coast it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Liverpool Echo

The week after the crash, Chad and Chelsea Moore were hiking along the coast when they noticed something strange at the base of the cliff. It appeared to be a wrecked car. They found their way down to the beach to investigate. 

Chad and Chelsea were busy gathering items that must have come from the car when they heard a cry for help. They ran over to some nearby rocks where they found Angela. Though weak, she was still alive.

Cell service wasn’t great in the Big Sur, but Chad and Chelsea were, fortunately, able to reach emergency services. They stayed with her and did what they could until a medical team arrived.

SF Gate

After first responders airlifted Angela to a nearby hospital, they worked to haul the debris up the cliff by crane. Although the first cable snapped, they managed to lift the Jeep back up.

All told, Angela endured a brain hemorrhage, four broken ribs, a shattered collarbone, a collapsed lung, and ruptured blood vessels in both eyes. Lucky for her, she made a full recovery.

Angela now feels like she has a new lease on life, and she’s held on to various items from her car to remind herself how blessed she is. Not many other people would have survived the crash, let alone lasted on the beach for a week after.

Facebook / Angela Hernandez

Angela says that the incident convinced her that there is indeed a bigger purpose in her life. She makes sure to savor every moment and spend as much time possible with the ones she loves.

Can you believe Angela was able to persevere under such dire circumstances?

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