Woman Rescued Along Slab Creek Reservoir after Being Stranded for 3 Days

EL DORADO COUNTY -- A Pollock Pines woman's pickup truck veered off an El Dorado County road, leaving her injured and stranded for three days.

It happened on Forebay Road near the Slab Creek Reservoir. Rescuers say 47-year-old Rita Clingan's truck flew more than 120 feet down an embankment.

Police say Clingan was around 150 yards from the water's edge but was able to call for help.

"Someone just happened to hear her cry for help," said Matt Bonnici.

A group of kayakers found her Sunday afternoon and called 911.

"If someone wasn’t on the water they would have had a tough time coming across her at all. It is very remote," Bonnici said.

Rescue crews were called out around 4 p.m. That's when they found Clingan's empty pickup truck hanging off the side of the cliff.

"Very challenging rescue, just as you can see due to the terrain, it’s extremely steep and it's overgrown with vegetation," said El Dorado County Fire Division Chief Paul McVay. "So, unfortunately, the aircraft wasn’t able to see the vehicle or the patient for quite some time. We were all searching for her."

Bonnici was kayaking nearby and helped flag down rescuers.

"They had a rescue helicopter come in and try to do a sighting of her location. And asked us kayakers to point our paddles in the general direction of where they were," he recalled for FOX40.

Rescue crews had to cut through trees and overgrown brush to get to Clingan. They strapped her onto a stretcher and pulled her up into the helicopter where she was taken to the hospital.

"She’s pretty fortunate that she was removed at that point in time," Bonnici said.

The fire chief says Clingan was able to walk and talk, although injured. She was airlifted to a Sacramento area hospital with extensive injuries.

While investigators look into what caused Clingan's truck to veer off the cliff, friends pray for her recovery.

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