A driver on a coast road in Carlsbad went flying over a cliff and into the water below on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
The white Subaru Forester was transitioning to Carlsbad Boulevard from Palomar Airport Road a little after 5 p.m. when the driver crossed multiple lanes of traffic, went through a guard rail and flew dozens of feet down to the beach below, eventually ending up in the water, according to Carlsbad police.
Rescuers were called out and the driver was pulled from the vehicle. He suffered non-life-threatening leg, pelvis and chest injuries, but first responders said the fact that he survived was nothing short of amazing.
"The fact that the patient survived was probably a testament to the engineering of the car," one first responder said.
A witness told NBC 7 that the vehicle was going 20-30 mph when it went off the road.
"I'm just kind of amazed. I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Edward Monette said. "It was like slow motion. Like something out of a movie."
He also said he didn't see the SUV's brake lights come on during the incident, but he did see a silhouette of the driver as the vehicle went past and he did not see the driver's hands on the wheel.
First responders said a retired Navy corpsman pulled the driver out of the car, got him to safety and tended to his injuries before medics got there. They said the good Samaritan disappeared up the cliff before they could even ask him his name.
Not long after the crash, waves washed up on the SUV, with seaweed tangling on its undercarriage. With the help of a crane, crews lifted the smashed SUV up onto the road and hauled it away.