DENVER – Six people in a minivan survived a 400-foot plunge down a slope in the Colorado Rockies, apparently because they were wearing seat belts.
"I just remember as we were sliding, it seemed slow," Terry Holman said Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show. "I kept hoping it would grab and come back the other way. When it didn't and started to fall, I just thought we were done for."
Holman and the others were on 11,018-foot Red Mountain Pass (search) in southwestern Colorado on Saturday when Joe Sullivan's minivan slid on a patch of ice. The van carried Sullivan, his wife, son and daughter as well as Holman and Holman's daughter, Stacia.
Sullivan recalls shouting as the vehicle tumbled down the 60-degree slope. It rolled twice, maybe more, before coming to rest with the driver's side facing down.
"As we first started down, we thought that was the end," Sullivan told "Today." "As we kept going further and further and realized nothing got us, nothing got us, there was a lot of hope and we just wanted to stop."
Sullivan's wife, Linda, had a head injury, but it was not life-threatening. Still, everyone was worried about getting help at the bottom of a hill on one the state's most treacherous passes.
Skip and Terri Garcia had been following the minivan in their SUV and pieced together what happened.
"We rounded a corner and the minivan was no longer in front of us," Skip Garcia told The Denver Post. "I glanced down and noticed tire tracks in the fresh, slushy snow headed over the embankment."
Terri Garcia used the Onstar feature of their SUV to call for help while her husband peered over the edge. "To our amazement people started to exit the vehicle," Skip Garcia said. "I yelled down for them to stay put, that help was on its way."
"Those folks are incredibly lucky that they survived," he said. "Amazing things happen."
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Lawrence Oletski said the fact that all six people in the van were wearing seat belts was key.
"This is the first time I can remember something like this where someone wasn't hurt badly or didn't die," Oletski said. "It truly is a miracle."