PHOENIX — A woman spent six days in the Arizona desert after her car veered off a highway, surviving injuries from the crash and getting rescued after someone noticed a broken fence, authorities said Wednesday.
The Department of Public Safety said two state transportation workers and a rancher were corralling a cow along a highway on Oct. 18 when they saw a break in a fence outside the historic Western town of Wickenburg, about an hour’s drive northwest of Phoenix.
As they inspected the damaged fence, they spotted a mangled car entangled in a mesquite tree. A DPS trooper responded but did not find anyone in the vehicle. The group followed human tracks to a riverbed for about 500 yards (457 meters) and found a 53-year-old woman severely dehydrated and with serious injuries.
According to the trooper, the woman recounted how she was driving on U.S. 60 on Oct. 12 when she lost control of her car. The vehicle went through the fence and dropped 50 feet (15 meters), landing in the tree.
She stayed inside her car for several days before trying to walk toward some railroad tracks to find help, but she was too weak to make it, authorities said. She was airlifted to a hospital.
DPS spokesman Quentin Mehr said the woman is declining all media requests and did not give any details about her current condition.
DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead commended the transportation workers and the rancher.
“Due to their outstanding efforts, this woman’s life was saved,” he said in a statement.