Kristin Hopkins, trapped for five days after her car flips off U.S. Highway 285 in Colorado, was saved by the red-and-white umbrella upon which she scrawled a plea for help. “Six days. No food. No water. Please help me—and need a doctor” was written by Hopkins with a Sharpie marker. A passing motorist spotted the umbrella five days after the 43-year-old single mother of four had crashed 80 feet down an embankment and into an aspen grove.
Hopkins was last seen on April 27, before her 2009 Chevrolet Malibu accidentally slipped off a roadway near the old mining town of Fairplay, in Colorado’s South Park area. Even though Hopkins had been listed in the missing person’s directory, there were no indications of foul play so there was no active search for her.
After seeing the umbrella, a motorist hiked down to the site and alerted authorities, who arrived on the scene expecting a recovery mission. One of the firefighters started to break a window when he saw Hopkins move her hand. At that point it became a rescue. Firefighters called for a helicopter, which arrived 15 minutes later and landed 400 yards down the hillside. The rescuers cut into the vehicle and, after a complicated extraction, Hopkins was pulled out. After surviving the car’s multiple roll-overs, Hopkins was flown by helicopter to St. Anthony North Hospital in suburban Denver. There she was treated for her injuries, which resulted in her losing both of her feet but not her life.
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