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Local News

Two Critically Injured When Speeding Pickup Plunges Over Cliff Near Refugio

Two people suffered major injuries Friday night when their speeding pickup truck plunged over a cliff along Highway 101 and ended up on the beach along the Gaviota coast, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The accident occurred about 8:15 p.m. as the truck was southbound on Highway 101 about a mile south of Refugio State Beach, said fire Capt. Vince Agapito.

The Nissan Frontier was travelling in excess of 100 mph in a heavy downpour when the driver lost control and spun out onto the right shoulder, said CHP Officer James Richards.

“Due to the high speed of the Nissan, it continued up the embankment protecting the railroad tracks and went airborne,” Richards said. “The Nissan continued across the paved bicycle path between El Captain State Beach and Refugio State Beach, then fell approximately 250 feet over a cliff onto the beach below.”

The vehicle came to rest on its roof near the surf line, Richards said.

He said the victims — a man and a woman, both believed to be in their late 20s — suffered life-threatening injuries, and had to be extricated from the wreckage.

The driver suffered a nearly-amputated left arm and internal injuries, and was having trouble breathing, Richards said.

The passengers suffered major head and face injuries, he added.

Due to the location of the wreckage, the pair had to be carried up the bluff by firefighters, assisted by State Parks and AMR personnel, Agapito said.

They were brought to a bike path that parallels the highway, and an ambulance was able to pick them up there, he said.

Both were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Details on their conditions were not available.

Authorities waited until Saturday morning to hoist the wreckage up from the beach, Agapito said.

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