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Passenger survives two nights in canyon after wreck kills driver

A Van Nuys man survived two nights in a canyon north of Castaic Lake after the pickup he was riding in plunged 250 feet off a winding mountain road, officials said.

The 65-year-old driver of the 1995 GMC Sierra was killed, according to a report from the California Highway Patrol. His name was not released, pending notification of next of kin.

The survivor, Alvaro Avila, 39, of Van Nuys, suffered a broken pelvis and internal injuries to his torso. Both men were wearing seat belts.

The two were traveling south along Lake Hughes Road just south of Warm Springs Road at about 7:45 p.m.  Friday when the driver drifted into the dirt shoulder, the CHP said. He overcompensated and the vehicle spun across the road and plummeted down the canyon, rolling and colliding into rocks, until it came to rest on a ledge, 40 feet above the bottom of the gorge.

Avila climbed out and waited for help, but could not get out of the canyon himself. A driver noticed the fresh skid marks on the road about 8 a.m. Sunday and got out to inspect, the CHP report said. The man spotted the pickup and called emergency services. Avila was airlifted to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital for treatment. 

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joe.mozingo@latimes.com

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