Double-fatal crash left sole survivor stranded for over 12 hours

FRESNO, Calif. -- Two Clovis men are dead and one was airlifted with major injuries Tuesday after their car tumbled off Highway 168 and plunged more than 600 feet down a ravine.

The disoriented sole survivor, identified as 24-year-old Jason Kirby of Clovis, told rescue crews the vehicle had gone over the cliff about eight days ago.

However, investigators determined the men were down the embankment for about 12 hours after leaving their houses in Clovis around 9:30 p.m. Monday night and may have been in the area exploring the outdoors.

"Just above us here, there is a driveway," CHP Officer Joel Williamson explained. "Just on the backside of this mountain, it is a recreational rock climbing area."

Kirby was airlifted with major injuries, and rescue crews found him pinned inside the truck a couple hundred yards from the road. Action News spoke to Kirby's family members who say he broke several bones but is expected to fully recover.
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The disoriented sole survivor, identified 24-year-old Jason Kirby of Clovis, told rescue crews the vehicle had gone over the cliff about eight days ago.

"They fell several hundred feet before they came to a rest," said John DeCicco, owner of Action Towing. "Then they rolled and tumbled down through the trees and came to a rest on their side."

DeCicco specializes in these vehicle recoveries and says it's miraculous that somehow one person survived.

"It's pretty incredible that he made it," he said. "But that's the importance of wearing seatbelts and buying cars with airbags."

The two men who died in the crash have not yet been identified, but the CHP says they were 19 and 20 years old.

Authorities say the men were only discovered after a CAl FIRE truck driver noticed something down the embankment at about 11 a.m. Tuesday morning and notified a CHP officer up the road.

"When I arrived on scene, I thought I might have heard talking down the hill so then I came over there, I started yelling down into the canyon and I heard someone reply back to my yelling," Williamson described.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office is now looking into what caused the driver to take the plunge.
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