UPDATE: The California Highway Patrol updated the number of people dead in the crash. Original reports from the accident said that as many as three people had died, but the number was reduced to one.
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 Road and Mindego Hill Road intersection, to retrieve seven people from the vehicle, CHP Officer Kevin Bartlett said. It took more than four hours for all victims to be rescued 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 cell phone reception.
The canyon, near the Russian Ridge Preserve, an open space reserve, 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.
Bay City News contributed to this report.