Woman found safe after missing for days

Published 05/06 2014 06:28AM

Updated 05/06 2014 06:38AM

NBC News
NBC News - 

A Colorado mother survived in the mangled wreckage of her car without food and water for at least five days after the vehicle plunged about 120 feet down an embankment.

Kristin Hopkins (43), scribbled desperate pleas for help on an umbrella and pushed it through the open window of her overturned Chevrolet Malibu.

The barely legible note written with a Sharpie appeared to say: "Six days, no food, no water; please help me; need a doctor," according to firefighter Jim Cravener, who was one of the first rescuers on the scene.

Investigators were still trying to determine what caused the crash on U.S. Highway 285, four miles south of Fairplay, Colorado.

But officials were stunned that Hopkins managed to survive the drop, let alone her five-day ordeal trapped inside.

"The crash alone would've taken its toll on her," Colorado State Patrol Trooper Dean Enright said. "It's surprising she survived the crash at all, but to be down there for that amount of days..." he added, his voice trailing off in disbelief.

Motorists spotted the vehicle Sunday, and hiked down from the highway before alerting the emergency services.

Hopkins was last seen on April 27th, and had been entered into a statewide police database as a missing person.

But as an adult with no indications of foul play, there was no active search for her.

Her car had driven off the road and gone airborne for 120 feet off the highway before rolling another 200 feet. It landed on its roof and was pinned against trees, not visible from the highway.

"Just imagine being trapped in the vehicle and listening to the highway nearby," Cravener said. "Torturous."

When Cravener and his colleague arrived at the vehicle they were about to break the passenger window to get inside, when Hopkins raised her hand to signal she was alive.

"She was mumbling, in and out of consciousness and was not making a whole lot of sense," he said.

Rescuers found Hopkins Conscious, coherent, but extremely dehydrated.

She was placed on a backboard and carried to a helicopter and taken to St. Anthony Hospital in suburban Denver.

She was listen in critical condition Monday, and was expected to have both of her feet amputated, her family said.

They add, she is expected to survive.

"It's really something off that 'Shouldn't Be Alive' show," Cravener added. "She really had a strong will to survive."

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