Woman rescued after spending night in car in creek near Russian River

CAZADERO, Calif. (KGO) -- A 67-year old Sonoma County woman is recovering after spending an entire night trapped inside her car after plunging into Austin Creek near Cazadero.

The woman was saved by a newly trained water rescue team and her own survival instinct.

The Subaru struck some rocks, rolled over once and landed on its wheel before traveling down the creek 20 feet. The car became lodged on a rock and the Cazadora Fire Department's water rescuers responded.

The 67-year-old woman managed to stay above water in the backseat with her dog for eight hours. "She was really calm," Water Rescue Team member Gabe Barrio said.

Barrio and Cory Olson are part of the newly trained water rescue team. They used their new equipment for the first time in a real life situation.

"We got a life jacket around her and if you were to head to the other side of the creek, it got shallower and shallower, so we walked her across," Barrio said.

The car landed on its wheels and a rock kept it from moving.

Those circumstances worked in the driver's favor. Plus, emergency officials say the victim handled it well by remaining calm.

"She didn't get out of the vehicle which was a major play. The water was moving quickly which probably would have swept her away," Barrio said.

The woman was suffering from hypothermia. And Russian River paramedics transported her to the hospital by ambulance.

"We just got done with our training and this happened, it was meant to happen," Cory Olsen said.

"It makes us feel good we are all volunteers, we do this to help our communities," Cazadero Fire Chief Steve Krausmann said.
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