A woman has been rescued after spending nearly a week trapped in her car that was left suspended in a tree following a crash in the Arizona desert, officials said.
The 53-year-old unnamed woman was driving on U.S. Route 60 near Wickenburg when she lost control of her vehicle on Oct. 12, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.
Her car crashed through a right-of-way fence and plummeted 50 feet before landing in a mesquite tree, where it dangled above the ground until emergency responders were alerted to the incident.
“There were no apparent witnesses to the crash and it would be six days before the woman would be discovered by authorities,” the AZDPS said.
The woman’s car was discovered on Oct. 18 by an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) maintenance crew and rancher. The group was working to corral a cow when they noticed a break in the fence near the roadway, officials said.
While examining the fence, they noticed the car in the tree below from the road, authorities said. ADOT crew members, the rancher and a trooper searched the car but didn’t find anyone inside. Instead, they spotted human tracks heading toward Hassayampa riverbed.
The trooper and one crew member followed the tracks for 500 yards and found a severely dehydrated woman with serious injuries, authorities said.
The woman said she remained inside the vehicle for several days before deciding to try to find help.
“Once she climbed out, she walked toward the railroad tracks in the area with the hope of being discovered,” the AZDPS said. “She never made it because of her weakened physical state.”
The woman was airlifted to a valley hospital.
“The diligence of the ADOT crew and teamwork of everyone involved is exemplary and to be commended,” AZDPS Colonel Frank Milstead said in a statement. “Due to their outstanding efforts, this woman’s life was saved.”