Nightly News   |  September 30, 2011

Kids find dad after car goes off cliff

A 67-year-old man found alive days after his car plunged 200 feet off a mountain road built a makeshift camp, ate leaves and drank water from a nearby creek to survive, his daughter said. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren has more.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in the mountains north of los angeles , the winding roads can be very treacherous. last week, a dlooiriver went off one of those roads and into a deep ravi ravine. what happened next is a story of love and survival.

>> reporter: it's a survival story along a winding mountain road with an incredible twist.

>> i strained down there and someone said help.

>> reporter: david lavau was missing. his family knew something must be wrong so they contacted authorities and then --

>> if anyone can find our dad it's us.

>> reporter: like detectives they checked his facebook and checked his cell and credit card records.

>> we were able to ping the cell phone towers.

>> reporter: which led them to a remote road.

>> they stopped at every ravine. there are a lot of them. here, they got lucky and heard their dad shouting up to them from some 200 feet below.

>> oh, my god. my dpad. i ran up, looked down and saw my dad's car.

>> reporter: lavau survived the crash and stayed alive for six days.

>> i said, how did you make it? he said, i drank the water in the river and ate leaves and bugs.

>> reporter: needle in a hay stack?

>> that's a good description.

>> reporter: good police work.

>> they did a great job.

>> reporter: and they helped solve another mystery. next to lavau's blue car , a silver one from an earlier accident with a victim dead and still inside.

>> my dad crashed there, survived and now the family that's been wanting their father to know what happened and now they have peace. i wish it was better peace. i'm sorry for that.

>> reporter: as for the lavaus, dad, david, is expected to make a full recovery thanks to the family that refused to give up.

>> we found him. no one else did. we did.

>> reporter: kristen dahlgren, nbc news, california.