A pensioner who was trapped in her car for at least three days after driving off a hilly road has miraculously survived. The 70-year-old driver was rescued by emergency services on Sunday afternoon at the bottom of a 50 metre ravine, having fallen off an Alpine route in the French commune of Castagniers, near Nice, after local walkers stumbled on the car wreckage.
A large-scale rescue operation was launched immediately upon her arrival, including seven engines and 23 firefighters, while a helicopter was used to retrieve the car.
When the 70-year-old woman was found, “the first thing she asked for was water”, according to a policeman.
They added that the woman was “obviously very dehydrated” and was claiming she had been trapped inside her car for five days.
But she was only reported missing to the local Cagnes-sur-Mer police station 72 hours prior to her rescue and an investigation into the incident is working on the assumption – given that the human body can only survive three days without water – that the five-day claim is inaccurate.
The 70-year-old driver was airlifted without difficulty to the Pasteur hospital in Nice after being found.
The pensioner suffered only minor injuries and her prognosis was not life-threatening.
An investigation has been opened by the Nice public prosecutor’s office. The aim is to shed light on the circumstances of the accident, which remain uncertain at this stage.
There were no skid marks found on the side of the road where the vehicle apparently tipped over.
Given that, the investigators are exploring whether the incident was caused by driver error, drowsiness, discomfort, a mechanical problem, or even an attempted suicide or murder.
The woman was fortunate to be found and to have escaped without any major injuries.
Local residents randomly spotted the wrecked white vehicle at around 4pm on Sunday evening while out walking through the Alpes-Maritimes.
They were reportedly astonished to find the woman inside the vehicle.
Upon approaching the vehicle, they discovered that the woman was conscious and crying out for help.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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