DENVER — A Colorado woman is recovering after being stranded in her car for five days after crashing off a rural highway southwest of Denver.
Kristin Hopkins wrote pleas for help on a red-and-white umbrella that she managed to push through a broken window of the car and open, hoping to attract the attention of drivers on a scenic highway above.
Still, it was five days before anyone spotted the flipped car 80 feet down an embankment on US Highway 285 in a Colorado aspen grove.
Authorities said her car was spotted by drivers on the highway Sunday. They hiked down and alerted authorities that they thought there was a body inside the car, but rescuers later found Hopkins alive, conscious, and coherent but critically injured and extremely dehydrated.
She was taken by helicopter to St. Anthony Hospital in suburban Denver, Park County undersheriff Monte Gore said. Her family said she was in surgery and would lose both of her feet.
Investigators say she went off the roadway near Fairplay while navigating a curve on Red Hill Pass on April 29, the same day she was reported missing in Douglas County, where she lives.
Hopkins was entered into a statewide police database as a missing person but there was no active search for her.
The firefighters who rescued her initially thought they were on a recovery mission. When they arrived at the car, firefighter Jim Cravener asked a colleague to break a window and feel for a pulse.
‘‘He started to break the window and she put her hand up to the window,’’ he said. ‘‘At that point, it became a rescue.’’