Driver survives 300-foot fall over cliff on California's Highway 1, just south of SF

Photo of Amy Graff
FILE - One lane of Highway 1 was closed Friday morning just south of Pacifica due to a car on a beach at the bottom of a cliff, officials said.

FILE - One lane of Highway 1 was closed Friday morning just south of Pacifica due to a car on a beach at the bottom of a cliff, officials said.

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A male driver survived a 300-foot fall over a cliff on Highway 1 south of San Francisco on Friday morning, officials said.

Cal Fire responded to the incident at 8:30 a.m. and firefighters found the driver inside the car in a "very serious condition," Cecile Narboni, a spokesperson for the agency, told SFGATE on the phone. Narboni said he was air lifted to a local hospital.?

"Based on a witness report and the preliminary investigation, we believe speed was a factor as the vehicle was traveling at an unsafe speed entering a turn," Mark Andrews, a spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol, told KCBS Radio.

Andrews said that a white BMW went over the cliff at Gray Whale Cove State Beach along Devil's Slide near the Tom Lantos Tunnel in Montara.

Andrews confirmed at 1 p.m. that the cliff was 300-feet tall. "It's right around 300 ... tow truck extended a 250-foot line and it was a bit short," he wrote in a text.?

The Cal Fire San Mateo - Santa Cruz Unit posted a video about the rescue that took two hours and temporarily closed Highway 1.

"Traffic was impacted on Hwy 1 along Devil's Slide for more than 2 hours as firefighters worked to rescue a patient trapped in a wrecked vehicle at the bottom of the cliff," Cal Fire wrote on Twitter. "This rescue was a team effort, from the witnesses who reported the crash, to the first responders on scene."

Cal Fire said a witness called 911 after seeing the car go over the cliff.

Editor's note, Sept. 30, 1 p.m.: This story was updated at 1 p.m. after the California Highway Patrol said the cliff was 300-feet tall. A prior report from Cal Fire indicated the cliff was 500 feet and CHP originally reported it was 200 feet.?

This is a developing story and will be updated as details emerge.?