By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
A woman who apparently jumped out of a moving vehicle and then fell 75 feet into the Kern River Canyon Friday night was rescued in a dramatic joint effort by the Kern County Fire Department and Sheriff's Office.
Blanca Pena, 37, of Bakersfield, plunged off of Highway 178 just west of the Richbar Campground area about 8:40 p.m. Deputies did not release more information about why Pena may have jumped out of the vehicle.
Sheriff's deputies were first on scene and called Fire for help. Pena had sustained serious injures, according to a Fire press release.
Fire crews climbed down to Pena using "multiple rope rescue systems" and tended to her injuries.
With all the trucks and other equipment crowded on the narrow, twisting canyon road, an ambulance was unable to get close enough for crews to quickly transfer Pena.
It was decided it would be best to hoist her out by helicopter. The Sheriff's Air 5 unit was dispatched.
The chopper plucked Pena off the side of the hill and flew her six miles to the mouth of the canyon where she was delivered to a waiting ambulance.
She was taken to Kern Medical Center. Her current condition was unknown.
Highway 178 was closed for about an hour and a half during the operation.