Firefighters rescued a woman who had been trapped in her car in California for five days after a crash. The woman's Hummer SUV had rolled from a cliff in the mountains in San Bernardino County. Barbra McPheron, 69, was reported missing on 23 October around 1pm, according to the local Ridgecrest Police Department.
McPheron had used the "OnStar" feature of her Hummer to contact 911. OnStar uses GPS as well as wireless phone technology to locate vehicles and can be employed to alert emergency services. However, after McPheron's use of the emergency feature, local emergency services experienced severe problems locating her. Ground and air searches in the Adelanto area of San Bernardino County failed to find her.
Five days later, the San Bernardino County Fire Department received reports of a vehicle rollover in a desert area north of Adelanto. According to NBC Los Angeles, the firefighters found McPherson trapped inside her Hummer at around 6pm on 28 October. They took an hour to free her.
During this period officials discovered that she had been reported missing several days previously. McPheron was taken by helicopter to hospital, where her condition is now described as "serious but non-life threatening". At this point it is not yet known whether her Onstar technology malfunctioned. Technical investigations are expected to follow.
This dramatic incident is not isolated. In 2014 Kristin Hopkins, 43, was also missing for five days after a vehicle crash. Her Chevrolet flipped from an embankment, hitting several trees, before landing 80 feet down an embankment in a grove of trees in a remote area of Colorado. The authorities were alerted to the presence of a body in the car and rescuers found Hopkins critically injured and severely dehydrated. Hopkins had shoved an umbrella through one of the Chevrolet's windows as well as putting notes on her windscreen in an effort to raise the alarm.