Car plunges 400 feet near Sand Harbor, driver survives | SierraSun.com

Car plunges 400 feet near Sand Harbor, driver survives

Kyle Magin and Carrie RichardsSun News Service

Carrie Richards/Sun News ServiceEmergency personnel respond to Sand Harbor to rescue a driver whose car plunged over the side of Highway 28.

INCLINE VILLAGE Early Tuesday morning, a 56-year-old California man lost control of his car and tumbled 400 feet to the rocks below State Route 28, about a mile south of Sand Harbor State Park.There Guy Fortin, of Elk Grove, Calif., waited for possibly several hours, before a Lake Tahoe fisherman spotted a Chrysler Sebring convertible with its front hood partially submerged in the lake and Fortin inside the car.All he could remember was that it was dark when he crashed, so it could have been any time before 6 a.m., its anybodys guess until we can get more information from him, said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Gallagher.He said Fortin was conscious when rescue personnel reached him, and he characterized him as pretty critical. He hit a couple of boulders on his way down, Gallagher said, confirming that Fortin was alone in the vehicle.Steve Crouch, a fisherman from Galt, Calif. was fishing along the East Shore in a boat about 8 a.m. when he saw what looked like something moving from the shore. He was almost 100 yards from the shore and since it was still pretty dark on the lake, he drove his boat in closer. What Crouch found was a tan Chrysler Sebring with Fortin stuck inside and bleeding from the head. I saw his arm waving at me and when I realized it was a person, I immediately called 911 and started looking for another person who could have flown out of the car, since I saw clothes and belongings scattered about, Crouch said. Crouch got a blanket out of Fortins trunk to keep the injured man warm since he was shaking badly. He was really dehydrated so I gave him some of my water, he was really thankful, Crouch said. The NHP said Fortin apparently passed over the center line of Highway 28 heading northbound about one mile past Sand Harbor, tumbled down the cliff and ended up at the edge of the lake, with the front of his Sebring in the water. Nevada Highway Patrol received the call from Crouch at 9 a.m., said Gallagher. He estimated that Fortin had been in the water for several hours before Crouch called and rescuers arrived, and confirmed that he was conscious the entire time.Marine 16, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection Districts rescue boat, transported Fortin to Sand Harbor, where he was airlifted via helicopter to Renown Health Care in Reno. The Coast Guard and Washoe Country Sheriffs Marine 9 also responded for the rescue.Chris Magenheimer, the commander in charge of Marine 16, said that Fortin was conscious, but not totally lucid.He wasnt too alert and oriented. He was cold, and you dont talk too much when youre really cold. He just kept saying that he went off (the cliff) when it was dark, Magenheimer said. He didnt have any life-threatening injuries.Gallagher expected that Fortins car would be towed out of the water Tuesday afternoon.