NASELLE, WA (CNN) -- A 4-year-old girl is being credited with saving her younger sister's life after a bad crash that killed their mother. The children were left stranded on the side of a highway for hours, until someone passing by saw them.
In the pictures from Washington State Patrol, you can barely see a sign of the crash from the road, but a passerby stopped to investigate the missing bark on a tree.
That person found the wreckage of Jessica Rath's car and her body inside. Then, 4-year-old Arianna Rath and 2-year-old Lylah Huff were discovered nearby, hunkered down in some brush. Bert Haven with the Naselle, Wash. Volunteer Fire Dept. says, "That's the good part that they both were alive."
Haven was among the first responders. He says, "The 4-year old was telling us the story she had said that she actually got the 2-year-old out of the car. So as far as we know the 4-year-old got the 2-year-old out of the car and had a blanket of something that she covered them both."
Medics took both girls for treatment, first to Astoria and then they were airlifted to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. WSP says the 2-year-old's injuries were serious. Haven says, "Well we could tell the 2-year old was let's say sick and needed to be out of there right away."
WSP says the family was on the way to Portland to pick up Jessica's husband, Keaton Huff, who is a fisherman. He pleaded for help on Facebook to find his missing family only to have his fears confirmed. Haven says, "It looked like a straight line to the wreck, hit the tree, didn't look like she may have swerved or anything like that."
WSP says Jessica likely fell asleep behind the wheel, possibly around midnight, some eight hours before her daughters were discovered and taken to safety.
The 4-year-old was treated and released from the hospital Wednesday night. The 2-year-old is still recovering. Her current condition is unknown.