AN American tourist who escaped with minor injuries after her car rolled 500ft down one of the steepest passes in England was ‘fortunate to have survived’, her son said.
Jane Lukic, 60, suffered a laceration to the head, a broken arm, bruising and a slight concussion. She was discharged from hospital just days later.
It happened on the steep single- track descent of Wrynose Pass into Little Langdale on Friday afternoon.
Holidaymaker Mrs Lukic, a self-employed music instructor from Mequon, a small city in Wisconsin, was travelling to Yorkshire to visit friends when her silver Mercedes left the narrow road.
The car somersaulted several times down the bracken-covered slope before coming to a halt on its side.
Two witnesses raced to her aid down the mountain pass, which features hairpin bends, falls away steeply at parts and has gradients of up to one in three at places.
Ex-husband Chris Kegel, speaking from Wisconsin, said ‘it’s a miracle’.
“It's amazing. If she had been in an old-technology car, she wouldn’t be alive. It's a miracle that she had her seat belt on and was able to sustain this crash with only minor injuries. She’s in good spirits and doing well, and happy to be alive."
Martin Holroyd, of Cumbria Fire and Rescue, said: “It was a lucky escape. She was very fortunate.”
The incident occurred about 1.30pm and sparked a major rescue operation.
Fire crews from Ambleside, Coniston and Kendal were involved in cutting the roof off to allow paramedics to get to Mrs Lukic, who was on her own.
Low-lying cloud meant a North West Air Ambulance Service helicopter had to turn back and instead an RAF Sea King helicopter from Northumberland evacuated the woman to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
She was treated there over the weekend before being released on Monday, the hospital confirmed.
In a comment on the Gazette’s website, son Noel Kegel said she was descending on a curve when the tyre blew out – causing her to lose control of the vehicle and career down the ravine.
Mr Kegel added: “A lifetime of gratitude and appreciation for the hiker, to the first responders, to the RAF chopper crew, to the doctors and everyone involved in this rescue effort.
“Mercedes earns a mention as well for designing a vehicle that can sustain so much damage and protect its precious cargo.”
Nick Owen, team leader of Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team, whose ten-strong team spent three hours at the incident, reserved praise for the two young men who comforted her while emergency services were on their way.