A California man had a close call when talking on the phone saved him from a falling boulder that crushed his car.
Mauricio Henao was leaving his home just off the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu on Tuesday when he stepped out of his car to take a phone call from his girlfriend. He walked back inside to take the call; when he returned, a massive boulder had crumpled and torn the roof off the car.
“I was in the driver’s seat, walked out, got a call, ran back inside, came out and the car was just totaled,” Henao told KTLA 5.
“My girlfriend called me and said ‘Hey, can you get my bag that I left there’ so I went back inside and I heard rumbling outside,” he added to KABC.
The rumbling he heard was a massive rockslide that fell across four lanes of traffic early Tuesday morning. One of the largest boulders, more than four feet across, tumbled down directly onto Henao’s car, where it smashed the windshield and crushed the roof. “I just heard loud crashes,” Henao told KTLA 5. “And I ran out and saw my car just crushed.”
A driver remains shaken up after narrowly escaping a giant falling boulder in Malibu that completely crushed his car.https://t.co/EQpEzYdv6D
— KTLA (@KTLA) January 11, 2023
“The rock is the size of the whole hood,”’ he added. “The windshields are all broken and the frame of the car is just all twisted.”
Fortunately, no one was hurt by the rockslide, KTLA 5 reported, but another car nearby was hit by rocks and sustained a broken windshield.
The incident did not seem to be related to the severe weather that has been walloping California, but the rain and saturated soils caused multiple rockslides and downed trees that blocked roads in the state in the last few days. Video from local power company PG&E, shared by The Weather Channel, showed a large tree sliding down a hillside and falling onto the road.
The Fresno area office of the California Highway Patrol shared a dramatic video Monday afternoon of a rockslide that closed state route 168 on Monday. Rocks and dirt tumbled down a hillside, followed by an enormous boulder that rolled down the hill and landed in the middle of the road. More soil and a small tree slid down behind the giant rock, while rainwater rushed across the road and down the hillside.
STATE ROUTE 168 CLOSED at top and bottom of 4-lane.
See dramatic video from @ChpFresno Officer.
— CHP Fresno (@ChpFresno) January 9, 2023
Another rock slide blocked Malibu Canyon Road in Southern California, according to a tweet from the city of Malibu. Photos shared by the city showed another huge boulder perched on a small pile of debris right in the center divider of the roadway.
Big rock! Malibu Canyon Rd is closed from Civic Center to Piuma Way due to boulder on road just north of the tunnel. For #LARain closures, updates & latest status on all #LACounty roads, go to https://t.co/teCIofYWd5. Drive safely & be wary of hazards. @CERTMalibu @MalibuVOP pic.twitter.com/1wwhFGrJnV
— City of Malibu (@CityMalibu) January 10, 2023
KTLA 5 reported that nearby Topanga Canyon Boulevard was also closed because of rockslides.
“I feel like it’s almost a ‘Final Destination’ movie, but in real life,” Henao said of his near-death experience, a reference to the horror movie franchise in which the protagonists narrowly avoid death. “I’m pretty shook up,” he added. “Honestly, I don’t think I’ll park here again after this. I’m a little traumatized by this whole ordeal.”
However, he was in good spirits and joked about his good fortune, saying, “I feel like I should play the Lotto.”