Pilot Recounts Daring Rescue of Family Stranded in El Dorado County

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Video released by the California Highway Patrol on Monday shows the agency's rescue of a family of six stuck in a remote part of El Dorado County.

One of the CHP's air units captured the event as the family's truck was sliding off a dirt road covered in ice toward a cliff near Junction Reservoir.

"There was a stranded motorist on an isolated road, remote area, high terrain ... And they needed help with a search because they weren't sure of where they were exactly," said CHP Pilot Monty Emery.

Emery said he and his partner, Officer David White, were lucky because the people they were looking for, a father and five young adults, had cell phone service.

"We thought, well we'll call them on a cell phone, so we gave them a call and asked them 'can you hear us?' And they said 'yes, we can hear you.' 'Well let us know if we're louder or quieter,' and they're like 'no you're right over top of us now,'" Emery told FOX40.

But Emery could tell the family of six was in bad shape.

"A chain from the wheel flew up and hit the glass, shattered it, so they were having trouble keeping warm inside the cab with his family," Emery said. "The way the truck was positioned, their left rear tire was about three feet away from the edge of a cliff."

To keep his truck from sliding over that cliff, Emery said the father had both feet pressed on his brake for hours.

Emery and his partner were able to guide other officers from Placerville in on the ground, but even those men had trouble.

"They were slipping a little bit, they actually got to the truck and sat down and slid the rest of the way to the truck because of the ice," he said.

Eventually those officers strapped the truck to a tree, securing it till a tow truck could arrive.

"Once they did that and secured the truck, the driver was able to take his feet off the brakes and they get out of the truck finally," Emery told FOX40.

According to the CHP, the family had been four-wheeling on backroads off Ice House Road in El Dorado County since about 8 a.m. Sunday. Emery said they were not spotted till almost 2:30 that afternoon.

The driver told officers he had been four-wheeling in that area for 15 years, which is why the CHP warned getting lost or stuck in the mountains could happen to anyone.

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