Arizona couple survives drive off 80-foot cliff

Credit: Kaatjem/Pixabay

Credit: Kaatjem/Pixabay

An Arizona couple were injured but thankful to be alive after accidentally driving their jeep off an 80-foot cliff while on vacation.

>> Read more trending news

Shanelle Bates and Matthew Kunowski, parents of seven kids, were excited to leave their Glendale home last week for a short vacation at a cabin in Young.

On June 27, the couple went to a Walmart for supplies. It was dark by the time they were driving back in their Jeep through a mountainous area. Bates told her husband looked away from the road for a split second -- and the next thing she remembers is tumbling down a cliff.

The Jeep fell down the side of an 80-foot cliff and crashed on the forest floor below.

"I woke up, I was still in the Jeep, we had our seat belts on, but my husband wasn't," Bates told KNXV-TV. Kunowski had been thrown from the Jeep. He was injured, but alive.

Bates said she crawled through the windshield to find her husband. The two then struggled up the mountain and reached the road. At some point, a local resident spotted the couple and called for help.

The couple were airlifted to a hospital in Scottsdale. Bates suffered a broken collar bone, cuts and bruises, KNXV-TV reported. She was discharged on Saturday.

Kunowski, however, remains in the hospital's intensive care unit with a broken jaw, broken ribs and his jaw wired shut.

Bates said she and her husband are just happy to be alive.

"Life can be taken from you in an instant and I thought it was, I thought we were gone," Bates said. "But our kids needed us and it wasn't our time to leave them."

The couple now faces a long recovery and medical bills. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with medical expenses.

About the Author