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Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Near Misses
Incidents that could have resulted in a fatality, but did not.


08/04/2008
A 45 year-old woman drove her SUV five stories into a suburban quarry near Philadelphia.

One rescue worker told Fox 29 News that, if the SUV had careened to the bottom of this deep quarry, the woman inside faced certain death.

More than 50 police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel worked feverishly to free her.

How the woman ended up in that position is still under investigation.

"There's an ongoing investigation at this time, but what we know this far is that she was traveling on Stenton Avenue and drove across some private property, through a gate to about a couple hundred yards and then down an embankment," Detective Rich Zadroga said.

"When your mind starts racing, you've got to think about 100 situations when you get here," one of the rescuers said.

"It was one of the steepest areas of the mountain where she came to rest," Cpl. Sam Ditzler said. "They were reporting a car off of the cliff."

He was the first person to respond to the scene.

"She was conscious, fairly alert. We just talked to her and tried to get her stabilized," Ditzler said.

To get the woman out of the quarry, a trio of rescuers was forced to repel down the side of the quarry to help lift her to safety.

"We explained to her what we were doing step by step. She helped us out, as much as we helped her out," said Vinnie Mundy, of the Barren Hill Fire Co.

The men who worked for an hour on unstable ground described a lot of slipping and a lot of falling. First, they stabilized the car by tying it with cables. Then, they maneuvered the driver out of the car onto a stretcher. And then, with help from a ladder truck above, they hoisted her up in a basket to safer ground just before 6 p.m.

"You know what? Everybody walked away, and that's my motto: as long as everyone goes home to see their family we had a good day," Barren Hill Deputy Chief Bernard Rose said.

The woman was flown to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and was listed in stable condition Monday night.

In the meantime, how she lost control or whether she did it on purpose was under investigation, authorities said.

Source: WTXF-TV Fox 29 (Philadelphia)