BODEGA (CBS SF) – A woman swam to safety after crashing over a cliff into the ocean near Bodega Tuesday morning, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
The Bodega Bay Fire Protection District responded to a call for a vehicle extrication on Highway 1 near Coleman Beach shortly after 6 a.m.
The car reportedly drove over cliff, falling 60-100 feet and caught fire. The woman jumped into the water and swam away from the flaming wreckage.
Fire Capt. Lou Stoerzinger said responders found a burning vehicle on a rock outcropping below a cliff and saw a woman, who escaped the vehicle through a window, treading water 50 to 75 yards off shore, Stoerzinger said.
Heath Lesik, a career firefighter who is trained in ocean rescue and volunteers for the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, swam out to the woman and helped her ashore, Stoerzinger said.
The burned car was pulled from the rocks.
There was no immediate information on any injuries the driver may have suffered in the crash.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said sheriff’s deputies and the California Highway Patrol believe the woman intentionally drove over the cliff in a suicide attempt.
The woman was placed on a mandatory mental health hold at the hospital, Crum said.