(CNN) — A man stranded after his car plunged down a steep embankment in the Angeles National Forest survived for six days by eating leaves and drinking water from a creek, authorities said Friday.
David J. Lavau, 67, of Lake Hughes, California, was found in a ravine a week after losing control of his car on a rural road and plunging 500 feet down an embankment into heavy brush, according to a report by the California Highway Patrol.
Lavau, who is partially disabled, told authorities that he spent the first night in his car.
“The next morning, he exited his vehicle and observed another vehicle adjacent to his own with a deceased male driver behind the wheel,” the report said. “The deceased appeared to have been there for some time.”
Authorities say they have not identified the dead driver.
The case began to unfold on September 23, when Lavau failed to return home.
Lavau’s family began searching for him when he failed to return home, driving the route and stopping at all the curves in the road from Castaic to his home in Lake Hughes.
While Lavau’s family searched for him, he “remained at the bottom of the hill surviving on leaves and water from a nearby creek,” the report said.
Lavau’s son, Sean, found his father after hearing “faint yells for help on the roadway from the canyon below,” according to the report.
Sean Lavau hiked to the bottom of the canyon to find his father, the report said.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department rescued Lavau and his son from the ravine. Lavau was taken to an area hospital where he was treated for moderate injuries, the report said.
The CHP said Lavau’s accident and the one involving the dead driver are under investigation.