“All we could see was trees, dirt and smoke, and we were hitting trees,” said Cloe Fields, who is lucky to be alive after she and her boyfriend, Christian Zelada, spun off a cliff on a California highway. She and Zelada walked away with only a few minor scratches after a 300-foot plunge down Monkey Canyon in Angeles Forest.
On Tuesday, the couple had decided to go for a drive outside their home in Glendale, California. They had pulled over to the side of Angeles Forest Highway to allow another car to pass, but just moments later, they had spun out on the gravel-covered road and plummetted backward off of the cliffside.
“Then we felt the rolling and we were upside down,” Fields recalled.
The car landed on its roof at the bottom of the canyon, and amazingly, they were both alive, conscious and without any major injuries. But they weren’t out of the woods yet. They were in an incredibly remote location with no cell service, and without help from authorities, there was no way they would be able to make it out of the area without the proper supplies.
California Couple Has Apple to Thank For Their Rescue
Luckily, Fields located her iPhone 14 roughly 10 feet from the crash site, still intact. Despite the lack of service, her phone had actually detected the crash and sent an emergency notification via satellite to an Apple emergency relay center. Just 30 minutes later, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials arrived at the scene.
As they hoisted the couple up to the helicopter, Fields remembered, “I was hyperventilating and crying at the same time.”
“They’re like, ‘You’re okay, you’re alive, you’re fine.’ It was so fast I was like, ‘I can’t believe this happened,'” she said.
According to Sgt. John Gilbert, a deputy and the search and rescue coordinator for the L.A. County sheriff’s department, it’s not uncommon for cars to veer off the California road, but few drivers have walked away without any major injuries.
“This particular stretch of road, we’ve had vehicles go over and we are dealing with a fatality,” Gilbert told PEOPLE. “For them to go over and survive is nothing short of a miracle.”
“If they hadn’t been able to get out the SOS, they could have spent overnight there, gotten wet, developed hypothermia,” he continued. “And then to walk out and get help, in a remote area with no cell reception, they were lucky.”
And the couple is well aware of just how lucky they are to be alive and well.
“I told Cloe that we are the one-in-a-million chance of walking unscathed from this type of situation,” Zelada said, adding, “Most people in these situations lose their lives or a limb, and the worst that happened to us is a couple cuts on our faces.”