KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- A Southern California man who spent five days at the bottom of a ravine without food or water is speaking out about the moment he was rescued and what he experienced during that harrowing time.
Calvin Smith was headed home to Ridgecrest last week when his truck went over the side of a remote road and tumbled 100 feet down to the bottom of a ravine in Kern County.
"When I started coming down the hill, I missed the hill - the whole hill and came straight down," the 68-year-old great-grandfather said.
Smith was severely injured and could only wait and hope as the days dragged on.
"I was going 'you're not gonna make it, you're gonna die here, dude'... That's when I said 'aww man, no you're not dude, stay up. Don't do that'... talking crazy to myself."
During that time, his terrified family tried desperately to find him.
"We searched and searched for him, we prayed - I put out a missing person (report)," said his wife, Dee Dee Smith.
His faith kept him strong as he faced freezing temperatures at night and high heat during the day. And then there was the terrifying close encounter.
"The biggest bear I ever saw in my life walked about three feet close to me. He just looked at me and kept on going. Praise God. That was God or that bear wasn't hungry or something," Smith said through chuckles.
After five days, a good Samaritan spotted the wreckage and climbed down the hill, saving Calvin's life.
"He told me he called the ambulance and rescue people before he called me. Gave Calvin water and some candy. He was able to mumble my name and number out," his wife said.
Calvin described what he felt when he realized he was being rescued: "I was excited, I was happy, I was glad. I was going to be saved, I'm not gonna die here. I'm gonna make it. I was very happy - tears were running down my face."
He suffered several broken ribs and vertebrae, dehydration and numerous cuts and bruises - but he is alive and extremely grateful to be able to spend more time with his 10 children, 44 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.