Man, 56, falls in ravine, rescued 5 days later
PORTLAND, Oregon (KOIN) – People spotting tire tracks leaving a lane led to the rescue of a 56-year-old man who had been reported missing in Washington state five days earlier.
After a 911 call was received around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue responded and spotted a green pickup truck on its wheels about 150 feet down a steep, wooded ravine. Firefighters made their way through waist-high scrub and found the man, later identified as Danny Sansbury, alive but critically injured and ill, authorities said in a press release.
“I’ve looked down there and I still can’t believe he survived six days like that,” said Terri Peck, who said she’s known the man for 30 years.
“When it turned out that he was missing, we all thought, ‘There’s definitely something wrong.’ Something’s wrong,” Peck said. “I said, ‘I know he’s in a ravine. He must be.’ There was no other explanation. So I started looking for him up and down a few ravines and then they said they found them at Sunset [Way].”
Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue Battalion chief Joe Tone says before the man was found, there were even suspicions that a crime might have been committed.
“They had no idea where the gentleman was and we went down the typical missing persons trail until the commoner – the local – found the car,” Tone said.
Longview Fire Department rope rescue teams were called to the rescue. Additional fire engines were rushed to the scene of the accident to take Sansbury up the hill after he was removed from the pickup truck.
“Being down there for five days – without eating or drinking – definitely had an impact on his injuries from the accident,” said Lt. Andy Worth of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue.
As he got up the hill, an ambulance took him to a school where he was flown by Life Flight to Peace Health Southwest for emergency care.
Officials said the rescue took just an hour from when he was discovered to when he was extradited. But after five days in the elements, Peck said rescue couldn’t have come soon enough.
“I just want to cry to death just knowing that he was here alone for six days. You know, it’s really hard to believe he was down there,” she told Nexstar’s KOIN. “I don’t know if he was upside down or what, but we all knew someone had to get to him quickly because we knew he wouldn’t have much time left.”
Sansbury was in critical condition. The cause of the crash is under investigation.