Cal Fire rescue teams who are continuing the battle the CZU Lightning Complex fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties had to turn their attention to a vehicle crash Monday morning. An area of Highway 1 that's known for both landslides and accidents was the site of a possible injury crash after a silver sedan launched off a cliff and landed on the cliffside near Gray Whale Cove, south of Devil's Slide.
Cal Fire CZU — the firefighting unit for which the fire complex is named, which covers the territory of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties — posted photos of the crash on Twitter at 9:30 a.m., which were subsequently picked up by KPIX. Firefighters were reportedly attempting a rescue, and the status of the driver or any passengers was not yet known.
Update: The female driver of the car died from injuries she sustained in the crash, and there were no other passengers in the vehicle, as the Chronicle reports. The driver was apparently ejected from the car and fell further down the cliff. She has not yet been identified.
Firefighters are at scene of a vehicle over the cliff off of Highway 1 near Gray Whale Cove south of Devils Slide in San Mateo County. Cliff rescue in progress. @NoCoFire @SMCSheriff @CHP_RedwoodCity pic.twitter.com/kAtEkqCwzj— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) August 31, 2020
The crash is reminiscent of another that occurred in late December in the same area that led to a lengthy search effort for the victim and the vehicle. In that incident, a Lexus SUV was seen on dash-cam video hurtling off a cliff near Gray Whale Cove, and quickly disappeared in rough surf below. The disappearance of both the car and the driver led to speculation that the video had been faked, but it was indeed real, and a second witness to the incident came forward.
Four months later, in late April, human remains and the driver's license of a female victim were both recovered on nearby Montara Beach. The remains were a DNA match for the person on the driver's license, Tracey Sinclair of San Francisco.
In February, there was also a car-off-a-cliff incident in Big Sur that killed two people. One of the two victims was publicly identified in April as Aran Sheehan from Dublin, Ireland.