At least one person is dead and five others injured after an SUV rolled over and slid off a remote dirt road in San Mateo County and fell into a canyon, according to the California Highway Patrol.
An intricate rescue operation occurred in the remote area near La Honda, miles from the Alpine and Mindego Hill roads intersection, to retrieve seven people from the vehicle, CHP Officer Kevin Bartlett said. It took more than four hours for all victims to be pulled from the canyon.
Around 11:22 a.m., a ranger with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District came across an SUV that had slid into the canyon, Bartlett said. It was not clear how long the victims had been inside, and they could have been trapped for hours because of poor cellphone reception.
The canyon, near the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, is only reachable by foot or horseback, Bartlett said.
It is unknown what caused the SUV to roll and slide off the road. The Bay Area was soaked with rain Wednesday, but Bartlett said the area is so remote it could be loose gravel or the road itself.
“The road may not have been compacted because it’s not heavily traveled,” he said.
All parties were transported by helicopter, one by one, to nearby hospitals. One person, identified by the San Mateo County Coroner as Luis Audelo-Partida, 26, of Newark, is confirmed dead. Two others were transported with “major injuries,” three people had minor injuries and one person was not injured.
According to Rhea Maz, a spokeswoman with the open space district, the seven people were contracted to do weed abatement for non-invasive plant species in the reserve.
CHP continues to investigate the incident.