Mountain Miracle: Woman Survives 5 Days Following Crash

Severely Injured Granby Woman Crawls Down Hillside For Help

A Colorado woman who spent five days on the side of a mountain after being severely injured was recovering Friday in Denver.

Authorities said Cynthia Hoover was heading home on the Central City Parkway the evening of Sept. 10, when a herd of deer crossed the road. Hoover swerved to miss the deer and her car went off the parkway, rolling down a steep hillside and landing on its top.

Hoover sustained broken ribs, broken vertebrate and a punctured lung in the crash.

Her Volkswagen Passat landed in a spot, about 350 feet off the parkway, where it couldn't be seen from the road which connects Interstate 70 with Central City. Hoover waited for help but it never came.

At some point, the Granby woman decided she'd have to go for help herself. Her family didn't report her missing because she frequently goes off on trips alone.

Hoover's severe injuries allowed her only to crawl and she used a golf club from the car to try and reach the highway above her, however she couldn't get up the steep hill. That's when she decided to turn around and crawl down the steep hillside to a mining operation below.

The crash knocked her shoes off her feet and she crawled in her bare feet, using the golf club for leverage. She later said she planned to use it fight off animals that might try to attack her but they never came.

On Saturday, rain, sleet, hail and low temperatures hit the area as a cold front came through.

By Tuesday afternoon, Hoover managed to crawl to within 450 of the mining operation, where she could hear people talking.

She yelled for help twice and the second time someone responded.

As luck would have it, Jon Northern was conducting a tour of the Hidee Gold mining operation that day for two tourists who were supposed to go home on Monday but decided to stay an extra day to take the tour.

Northern answered Hoover's calls for help but couldn't see her. He climbed up the hillside to her and couldn't see the car from where he found her.

Once he got to her, he yelled for the two tourists to find Chris Stone, the manager tours and tell him he needed the first-aid kit.

The tourists quickly found Stone, who happened to be coming out of the mine on another tour.

"All I heard them say was 'Jon needs you right away. He needs first aid,' so I thought Jon had been injured," Stone told 7News.

Stone grabbed the first-aid kit and headed up the hill. He said she was in bad shape when he saw her, purple eyes and her mouth filled with dirt from crawling with her head on the ground.

"When I got there we covered her with blankets and tried to make her as comfortable as possible until emergency units arrived," Stone said. "She kept saying, 'I've been here since Thursday, I've been here since Thursday."

Stone said she didn't know what day it was and he didn't tell her because he didn't want to alarm her.

"Rest easy now, we're here," he said he told her. He said she was very thirsty and the blood from her injuries had caked on her.

Central City Fire Chief Gary Allen was one of the first to arrive after the 911 call was made. He told 7News it's the most amazing survival story he's been involved with in his 34 years in the area.

Allen told 7News Hoover didn't have anything to eat during the five days and only got moisture from two cold rains that hit the area during that time.

"She used up three or four miracles," said Allen. "She survived the initial crash, she survived the elements and she was heard by people conducting mine tours."

Rescuers quickly summoned a Flight for Life medical helicopter which landed within 30 minutes of when Hoover was found.

She was flown to St. Anthony Central Hospital where she was initially listed in critical condition but has since been upgraded to fair condition.

Stone said if the two tourists hadn't decided to stay the extra day and tour the mining operation and if Northern hadn't decided to take them outside the woman's calls for help probably wouldn't have been heard. On top of that, it was the last tour of the day, Stone said.

"I hope she's fine," he said.