San Gabriel, Cali. (KDVR) — A Thornton woman is sharing a remarkable story of survival after tumbling 200 feet down a mountain in Southern California.
40-year-old Ruth Woroniecki was camping with her family on Christmas Eve when she left to climb Cucamonga Peak.
She was on her way down from the 8,800-foot summit when she slipped on ice, tumbling down the side of the mountain.
“I have no recollection of slipping, sliding, falling on my butt, or anything.” she said. “Just the next memory is coming to, with a lot of blood, with the hikers there, hearing the helicopters in the air.”
Woroniecki said a tree trunk stopped her fall and a group of hikers saw her and called for help.
Rescue crews used a helicopter to reach her but had to land a few hundred feet away for safety reasons.
“The helicopters tried to drop the cable at least twice and it was like right there, and then we had to let go because they couldn’t get it because of the currents.” she said. “So we walked 200 feet parallel on the mountain, he had the ice gear so he stayed below to make sure I wouldn’t fall. I held my head the whole time, it was super, super painful.”
She would find out after arriving at the hospital just how bad her injuries were.
“The doctor came in and said ‘stop, stop moving her, this is serious, she has broken vertebrae in her neck,’ and it’s kind of one of those slow-motion moments of like, wow.”
Woroniecki is an avid volunteer and was in California helping people experiencing homelessness at the time of the accident.
“I’ve got nothing but gratitude,” she said. “God gave me a second chance at life.”
She hopes to continue traveling and volunteering but has a long road ahead.
Her sister has set up a GoFundMe to help Woroniecki with expenses and continue her charitable work.