CHP report: Driver survives for hours after crashing into Klamath River

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
A Cal Fire photo of an upside down vehicle that was pulled from the Klamath River the morning of Dec. 12, 2018. The CHP Yreka Area reported that 28 year old driver Michael Finn was alive after several hours breathing from a pocket of air in the vehicle, and he was transported to Fairchild Medical Center in Yreka for treatment. Photo courtesy of Cal Fire

A man who lives in the town of Klamath River endured nearly five hours breathing from a pocket of air inside an upside down vehicle while it was almost fully submerged in the Klamath River Wednesday morning, Dec. 12, 2018.

As reported by the California Highway Patrol Yreka Area, Michael Finn, age 28, was located alive in the vehicle when it was pulled from the river at approximately 7:55 a.m. He told officers he may have crashed into the water around 3 a.m.

After the rescue, Cal Fire and Mt. Shasta Ambulance personnel immediately began providing medical aid, and Finn was transported by ambulance to Fairchild Medical Center in Yreka to be treated for exposure, according to a CHP report.

CHP Officer Shadwell is quoted in the report saying, “The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Dive Team Commander, Sergeant Giannini, was extremely instrumental in this rescue.”

Giannini is credited with hooking up the red 2018 Ford Fusion to recover it from the river when a tow truck from Bruce’s Towing arrived.

It was 5:22 a.m. when the CHP Yreka Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call regarding a vehicle upside down in the Klamath River, according to the report.

The CHP states that the vehicle “was located in the Klamath River on State Route 96, west of State Route 263, on its roof, almost fully submerged, and the four-way emergency flashers were on.”

Yreka California Highway Patrol Officers, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Dive and Recovery Team/Swift Water Rescue, Cal Fire units, Yreka City Fire, Caltrans, Mt. Shasta Ambulance, and Bruce’s Towing responded to the area to assist.

The Yreka CHP reminds everyone “to slow down during hours of darkness and when roads may be icy.”