Woman rescued after tumbling down a rain-soaked slope and landing beside a raging river

A semi-conscious woman was rescued Sunday night after tumbling 70 feet down a rain-soaked slope and nearly falling into a swollen river, authorities said.

Just before 10:30 p.m. Sunday, firefighters received a report of an overdose at a home in the Sacramento County community of Fair Oaks.

When firefighters and Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies went to the home, they couldn’t find the woman, said Capt. Michelle Eidam, a spokeswoman for Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

They searched the neighborhood until they finally got a clue. It came from the woman’s cellphone.

Her cellphone pinged off a cell tower on the north side of the American River, near Hazel Avenue.


Deputies requested the assistance of the California Highway Patrol, which sent a helicopter to conduct an aerial search.

Using infrared equipment, the air crew spotted the woman lying on a ledge just a few feet above the river, Eidam said. The ground was slick after several days of rain, she said.

It appeared the woman rolled 70 feet and somehow stopped before falling off the ledge and into the river.

The woman was not able to talk to authorities and had a decreased level of consciousness, Eidam said.

Using a rope system, two rescuers were lowered to the ledge and placed the woman in a stretcher. She was hauled up the slope and taken to an area trauma center.

“Sheriff’s officers went above and beyond, CHP jumped in to help find the patient, and firefighters from multiple agencies rescued, treated and transported her,” fire Battalion Chief Mark Repetto said in a statement. “Without this collaboration, it’s not likely this woman would have survived through the night.”

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