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Colorado woman survives six days trapped in wreckage of her car

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado woman survived six days trapped in the wreckage of her car after driving off a mountain highway but suffered multiple injuries and must have her feet amputated, a family spokesman said on Monday.

Brian Willie, the family spokesman, told reporters that Kristin Hopkins, 43, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, had suffered internal and external injuries from the accident. Hopkins is listed in critical condition in St. Anthony Hospital in suburban Denver, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

"While we're hopeful of her prognosis ... doctors were not able to save her feet due to the severity of those injuries," Willie said.

Hopkins, a single mother of four children, was reported missing by her family on April 29, the day of the presumed automobile crash, said Park County, Colorado, Undersheriff Monte Gore.

Gore said a group of people spotted the wreckage of a car on Sunday while driving along a mountain highway near Red Hill Pass, about 65 miles southwest of Denver. They hiked 140 feet down the slope to the crash site.

The group then returned to their vehicle and drove to the sheriff's office, where they reported they had "found a body in a vehicle," Gore said.

When emergency crews reached the site, they found Hopkins alive in her car. One of the first firefighters on scene, Lieutenant James Cravener of the North-West Fire Protection District, said that when rescuers reached the vehicle, Hopkins pressed a hand against the car window.

"At that point, we knew we had a rescue rather than a recovery," Cravener said.

Cravener said Hopkins had written notes on an umbrella that she deployed through the broken rear windshield of the car as a makeshift distress signal.

"She wrote a few notes - one said ‘Please help, am bleeding' and another said, ‘Six days with no food or water,' " Cravener said.

Trooper Nate Reid, spokesman for the Colorado State Patrol, said Hopkins had been driving southbound on Highway 285 when she lost control of her Chevrolet Malibu around a curve.

The vehicle was believed to have gone airborne after striking several trees, and rolled several times down a steep embankment before coming to rest upside down in a grove of aspen trees, Reid said.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Steve Gorman, Grant McCool and Douglas Royalty)

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