The dramatic rescue of a 72-year-old woman whose car tumbled down a huge ravine in Idaho, leaving her stranded for days, is being hailed as a miracle, while police have heaped praise on her perseverance for surviving the terrifying ordeal.
Penny Kay Clark was reported missing on Dec. 5 after she disappeared without a trace, with her family fearing the worst as the days passed by.
However, four days later, on Dec. 9 at around 11:40 a.m., two men who had been out in the area of Map Rock Road and Rim Road near Melba spotted a wrecked 2021 Chevy Equinox about 200 yards down a ravine, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said in a statement.
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The pair were aware that a missing person’s appeal had gone out for Clark and her Chevy Equinox so they called the police.
CCSO deputies arrived at the location a short time later and while surveying the area with binoculars from the canyon rim, they saw Clark approximately 40 feet below the vehicle’s location in a ravine.
A frantic multi-agency rescue was then put into operation and at around 1 p.m., Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue members were able to reach Clark, who was conscious and alert.
Given the difficult and rocky terrain, CCSO and search and rescue personnel decided to stabilize her and then carry her to a location on Map Rock Road where a helicopter and paramedics were staged.
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It took rescuers about two hours to get Clark to Map Rock Road, where she was then flown to an area hospital, according to Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue.
“This is frankly one of the most miraculous incidents that I can recall in all my years in law enforcement and it’s a true testament to the strength and fortitude of Penny Clark,” Donahue said.
“The medics who evaluated her on scene believe that she had been there for at least a couple of days, and more than likely since Tuesday, when her family last had contact with her. It’s truly a miracle, and I’m hopeful that she makes a full recovery.”
Temperatures fell to 24 degrees Fahrenheit the night before Clark was found, according to the website Time and Date, which tracks temperatures.
Police also praised the agencies as well as the two men who came across her and had the wherewithal to determine that it was likely connected to the missing person appeal put out by Nampa Police Department.
“This was a true team effort,” Donahue said.
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Clark is being treated at a local hospital for her injuries and her family has asked for privacy.
It is unclear what led to her car careening down the ravine, or what type of injuries she sustained.
The Idaho Statesman reported before Clark was found that she had gone out in the car to run errands.
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