SUV with 8 teens veers off roadway; plunges 100 feet into Canyon Lake

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Several of the teens who managed to escape and swim to shore are seen waiting to be rescued. (Source: Travis Albright) Several of the teens who managed to escape and swim to shore are seen waiting to be rescued. (Source: Travis Albright)
(Source: Superstition Fire & Medical District) (Source: Superstition Fire & Medical District)
(Source: Superstition Fire & Medical District) (Source: Superstition Fire & Medical District)
(Source: Superstition Fire & Medical District) (Source: Superstition Fire & Medical District)
(Source: Superstition Fire & Medical District) (Source: Superstition Fire & Medical District)
CANYON LAKE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Eight teenagers rescued from Canyon Lake are recovering after their SUV ran off the roadway and plunged 100 feet down a steep embankment into the water below.

The driver and passengers, between 16 and 18 years old, were able to escape the submerged vehicle before emergency teams arrived, according to Superstition Fire & Medical District spokesman Brett Broman.

The accident occurred at around 9 p.m. Saturday on State Route 88 (Apache Trail) at milepost 210, near the first bridge at Canyon Lake.

The Department of Public Saftey said the 16-year-old driver took a sharp right turn at about 35 miles per hour and the Yukon's left side tires went off the road and started to slide down the slope. The SUV then completely slid off the road and down the slope and started rolling over. It then landed in a cove within Canyon Lake

All of the teens were able to get out of the 2011 silver Yukon with some of them swimming across the lake onto the opposite shore where they rolled from, DPS said. 

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office used a boat to pick up the swimmers and brought them back to the shore they rolled from.

The crash occurred in a remote location with difficult terrain, Broman said. Rural Metro called the Mesa Regional Dispatch Center for additional help.

Two people were airlifted to local trauma hospitals. Two more were rushed by ambulance to local medical centers.

One of the teens suffered a fractured pelvis and another went into diabetic shock.

The remaining four victims suffered minor injuries and were not transported.

All are expected to survive.

Rural Metro was assisted by units from Superstition Fire & Medical District, Mesa Fire and Medical Department, Gilbert Fire and Rescue Department and Tempe Fire Medical and Rescue Department.

DPS said the Yukon belongs to the driver's parents. His 18-year-old brother was with him. The rest of the teens were friends of the two brothers.

[TIME-LAPSED VIDEO: SUV that rolled & plunged into lake towed]

Broman said this was the third incident Rural Metro has responded to within the last two weeks on SR 88.

The last two incidents were near milepost 204 and also involved vehicles going off a cliff.
    
The Apache Trail is a beautiful scenic roadway which starts in Apache Junction and winds its way to Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, and eventually ending at Roosevelt Lake and State Route 188. 

"The SFMD reminds everyone to use extreme caution while driving as this very narrow two-lane road consists of many curves and switchbacks, and is without guardrails in many spots," Broman said.

He added travelers should recognize there are no services along this stretch of road and cell service is very limited.

[Google map: Canyon Lake)

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