PIRU : 6 Survive Accidents; Car Dives Into Lake

Six people survived two harrowing car accidents on opposite ends of the county Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Shortly after 3 p.m., Shihiab Uddin, 20, of Los Angeles fell asleep at the wheel of his compact car on a twisting stretch of Piru Canyon Road and plunged more than 100 feet into Lake Piru.

Uddin escaped through the sunroof of the car, and his two male passengers also managed to extricate themselves from the vehicle and swim to shore.

"We came up to the scene and there was no car," said Capt. Ed Ho of the county's Piru fire station. "The only thing that gave it away was an oil slick the size of a manhole floating on the surface."

Uddin refused medical treatment, but his two companions, whose names were not available late Wednesday, were treated at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia and released, authorities said.

"They were lucky," Fillmore Fire Chief Pat Askren said.

The accident occurred in the Bobcat Canyon area near the lake, county park rangers said. Two of the victims stranded after they climbed ashore were eventually rescued by boat, while Uddin managed to climb back to the road, where he was picked up by emergency workers.

About 30 minutes later, a pickup truck carrying three women dropped more than 40 feet and overturned in a canyon adjacent to California 33, about 13 miles north of Wheeler's Gorge.

It took rescue workers nearly 90 minutes to get to the women. Shauna Penson of Ojai was taken by helicopter to Ventura County Medical Center with critical injuries, county firefighters said. She was in serious condition late Wednesday, hospital officials said. The other two women, who were less severely injured, were taken to the medical center by ambulance, the California Highway Patrol reported. Their conditions were unavailable.

The CHP was unable to provide the names of the other accident victims.

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