Woman in hospital after car plunges over Signal Hill cliff
Emergency crews were called to Signal Hill in St. John’s, N.L. early Sunday morning, April Three, two thousand sixteen with reports of a car dangling over the edge.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A 20-year-old is in hospital with serious injuries after her car went over a rocky cliff at Signal Hill – a scene that drew dozens of nosey onlookers to the popular tourist site on the shores of St. John’s, N.L., where an empty car dangled on the 250-metre cliff for much of Sunday.
St. John’s platoon fire chief Rick Mackey said the woman somehow breached the gate at the national historic site on Sunday around eight a.m.
Mackey said the woman either was thrown or hopped from the vehicle as it nosedived over the rugged cliff just below Cabot Tower, coming to rest about ninety metres down the cliff.
“As you can imagine, that was a bit of a fresh one for us,” said Mackey, who has been a firefighter for thirty years. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
Mackey said the woman, the car’s only occupant, landed toughly forty five metres down the cliff face and was rescued by emergency crews within about twenty minutes. She was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
“I can’t even speculate on how or why she managed to be up there,” said Mackey, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary spokesman Const. Geoff Higdon said no foul play is suspected. He said the woman’s identity is not being released at this time.
Higdon said the car was in an area closed to traffic. A wooden gate down an access road below Cabot Tower was open Sunday afternoon and appeared to have been bruised.
Mackey said the badly-damaged Toyota Echo, which was teetering on the rocks in one hundred km/h winds, has also been recovered. He said crews consulted with Parks Canada and made removing the car a priority.
“Because of the precarious position of the vehicle and all the hiking trails that are well used up there, we needed to make sure that nobody would walk underneath the area that the car was perched,” said Mackey.
“The winds were actually making the car stir and it could have lightly kept sliding down and it wouldn’t have stopped until it went into the harbour.”
The winding road up Signal Hill, which draws tourists and locals for its spectacular ocean views, was blocked by police for much of Sunday as a tow truck perched near Cabot Tower successfully pulled the vehicle back up the cliff.
Dozens of cars lined the road toward Fort Amherst across the Narrows from where the battered vehicle came to rest on the steep rock face. Nosey onlookers observed as what appeared to be a grey, four-door sedan was leisurely hauled up.
It was later taken on a plane bed truck back down Signal Hill.
Tire tracks and violated glass were visible toward and over the cliff beside observation decks as high winds whipped across the area.
As soon as the road reopened, a stream of vehicles headed up Signal Hill to look at the path the car appeared to have taken.
– With files from Aly Thomson in Halifax.