Woman rescued 17 hours after highway crash 'very, very fortunate'

The woman who was rescued 17 hours after crashing her car off the Princes Hwy is believed to be in a stable condition, but police are still investigating the cause of the incident.

Chief Inspector Peter Volf, duty officer for the South Coast Police District, held a conference outside Bega Police Station on Friday where he described the 69-year-old as a "very, very fortunate lady to be in the position she is in today".

"It's amazing, we've been getting down to two and three degrees a night in this area, so to sit in a car, next to a creek, it would have been freezing," he said.

Before she went missing, she had last been seen at 11.30pm on Wednesday, June 5.

LUCKY RESCUE: Chief Inspector Peter Volf holds a conference outside Bega Police Station on Friday morning.

LUCKY RESCUE: Chief Inspector Peter Volf holds a conference outside Bega Police Station on Friday morning.

About 2pm on Thursday, police were notified about concerns for the resident from Benandarah, which is north-west of Batemans Bay, so began inquiries into her location.

Chief Inspector Volf said at 4.25pm, police were alerted to the fact the woman had called her daughter-in-law in a "distressed state", as apparently she had lost consciousness after the crash until that time, and said she had an accident somewhere between Moruya Hospital and Wallaga Lake.

After 15 minutes police received a possible location of the woman, then found her in a inside a Holden Trax SUV another 15 minutes later in the Kianga Creek bed after noticing a damaged guard rail on the highway.

When she was found, Chief Inspector Volf described her as "very relieved" and "in good spirits".

He said "the car was on its wheels" and as far as he was aware it had run off the road.

It was down an embankment where cars driving past along the highway would not have seen it, but he did not yet know how the crash occurred.

"We still haven't accounted for how that happened at this stage, but we are making inquiries," Chief Inspector Volf said.

It took 20 minutes to extricate the woman from the car and she was then airlifted to Canberra Hospital.

Chief Inspector Volf said it was an amazing effort between different agencies involved in the rescue - NSW Ambulance, Fire and Rescue NSW, Moruya State Emergency Services, Narooma Volunteer Rescue Association and the Dalmeny Rural Fire Service - and it "would have been five minutes" for police to contact the agencies to involve them in the operation.

He said he could not reveal the police methodology used to find the woman, but NSW Police had earlier said the mobile phone system was used to identify a potential location.

There have been road accidents north of where the woman was found, but Chief Inspector Volf said the area where the crash occurred was "only a new stretch of road, it's been improved".

He was unsure why the woman called her daughter-in-law before Triple Zero, but said it was lucky she did because when police first started looking they did not know what area she would be in.

She is believed to have suspected broken ribs, mild exposure and other minor injuries.

When setting out for a drive, Chief Inspector Volf said it was important to let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to arrive.