Malibu SAR rescues driver Sunday morning

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The Malibu Search and Rescue responded to a vehicle over the side on Las Flores on Sunday, March 12. The incident occurred early in the morning. Malibu SAR said the driver swerved to avoid a coyote.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and LA County Fire Department also responded to the incident. The victim suffered minor injuries.

When an animal runs out in front of their vehicle, many drivers first reaction may be to swerve to avoid it —don’t. Swerving can cause you to lose control, drive off the road into the ditch, or across oncoming lanes.

SAR Team Leader and Public Information Officer David Katz said over the years they have had several cars go over the side of cliffs on narrow mountain roads, and the drivers state they swerved to avoid a coyote, but they can’t confirm that in every case.

“We’ve never actually witnessed this as being the case so we can’t verify if that’s actually what happened, and we are usually a bit skeptical about this explanation given the lack of skid marks consistent with avoiding an animal,” Katz said. “But, if the choice is an accident on a narrow canyon road vs hitting the animal, the choice to most would be clear. Avoid the accident by all means necessary. In this particular incident, the driver was extremely lucky to walk away with only minor injuries as the vehicle flipped multiple times down a steep cliff.”

The Malibu Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer organization comprised of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Sheriff, civilian volunteer specialists, and incident support personnel.

The MSAR jurisdiction is 187 square miles of the Santa Monica Mountains from the Los Angeles/Ventura County line to Pacific Palisades, the east face of the Santa Susana Mountains, and the contract cities of Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Malibu, Calabasas, and Hidden Hills. They can also be sent anywhere in Los Angeles County to assist other LASD teams.

The article was updated on Monday, March. 20.