Rescue caught on video after Arizona driver plummets 200 feet of cliff

A man is recovering from severe injuries after his car plummeted 200 feet down a cliff off State Route 88 early Sunday morning in east Mesa.

The daring rescue was all caught on video.

Not only did the man fall off the edge of the cliff, but he hit an abandoned car upon impact. There are around 10 smashed cars at the bottom of a place some call the "graveyard."

Thankfully, the man will live to tell his story.

"I wanted to make sure he was still alert, and he could answer my questions and make sure that he knew nobody had left him. We were all still there and that we were coming," Jessica Heavin, an American Medical Response (AMR) EMT said.

It happened around 12:30 a.m. on July 7 off State Route 88 at the notoriously dangerous mile marker 218.

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A man attempting to transverse the turn appears to have misjudged how sharp the curve is and drove off the edge of the road.

He fell 200 feet down the steep embankment.

"Well, instantly it’s a terrible drop, and we wonder whether the person in the vehicle is still alive. The patient was responding to us, so from that instant, we know that we have to basically take it up a notch and get people up there as fast as we can," Barbara Foord, a paramedic with AMR said.

Arizona DPS and AMR crews immediately called for backup, relying on Mesa Fire, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, an air evac chopper, and a Superstition Fire & Medical Technical Rescue Team (TRT) to help lay the ladder, repel rescuers down the ravine, treat the patient and get him to the hospital immediately.

"Our TRT guys are amazing. They’re trained to stay cool, calm and collected in situations like this," said Sophie Boukatch, a paramedic with Superstition Fire & Medical said. "It’s obviously a little nerve-racking going down a dark cliff."

The driver was severely injured and in pain, but conscious.

It took hours, but finally, crews safely secured him and took him out by helicopter.

"They did an amazing job on that. Our crews do this every day," said Jennifer Veri with AMR Central Arizona.

The ravine off State Route 88 is near Apache Lake and doesn't have a guard rail.

While there are signs posted that you have to go 15 mph, it's recommended you go even slower. Crews say rescues like this happen all the time.

Thankfully for this driver, not only did he survive his injuries, but it happened under the cover of night, and not in the extreme heat.