San Diego law enforcement officials are trying to unravel the bizarre story of a missing big rig driver found incoherent at the bottom of a ravine in Alpine.
The trucker, who has not been identified, had been there for 24 hours stuck and unable to call for help, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) said.
Deputies received a request from a trucking company to check on their driver who was overdue for a scheduled arrival at around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The GPS on the driver's truck showed it was parked in a viewpoint parking lot along Interstate 8 in Alpine.
Deputies found the truck running with the headlights on and discovered the driver’s phone and wallet inside the cabin.
Worried he might have fallen down the steep ravine below the lot, they called in an SDSO search and rescue team as well as the department's ASTREA helicopter.
Nearly 30 minutes later, the search chopper spotted the driver, a 43-year-old man, at the bottom of the ravine near a creek bed.
He was suffering from heat exposure and was so dehydrated he couldn’t communicate with rescuers about how or why he ended up in the ravine.
Deputies say he was stranded in sweltering heat with no way out or means to call for help, leaving fellow truckers and investigators alike wondering how he got down there.
"There’s nothing here. No water, no restroom,” trucker driver Gregg Carter said. “Maybe he didn't want to do it out in public. Maybe he wanted to go down and then when he was down there something happened."
Rescuers say the trucker didn't suffer any injuries associated with a fall down a 1,000-foot ravine.
The truck had Ohio plates.
At last check, the driver was being treated at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.