How Man Who Drove off Cliff Survived 17 Hours Under SUV

Joe Woodring is recovering after amputation.

— -- A North Carolina man who was trapped under his SUV after it tumbled off a cliff is in good spirits and recovering from a leg amputation, his family said.

"It's just incredible to me," his aunt, Trish Miller, told ABC News today. "He's never said the first negative thing."

Her nephew, Joe Woodring, 21, fell asleep at the wheel last month in Boone, North Carolina, and veered off the road, his SUV falling at least 60 feet down a ravine, authorities said. He was pinned underneath the vehicle for seventeen hours until someone heard his screams and alerted police.

"From the time it stopped, he was awake and conscious," Miller said. "He was very smart. He caught rain water in a little can to drink. He made a pillow out of grass, stuffed his shirt full of grass. And he had his pocket knife and cut the lining of the seat to get the cloth to make a blanket. He's definitely a survivalist."

"When we comes home, he'll be in a wheelchair for a while," said his grandmother, Tempie Ruth Woodring. "Then they'll work on getting him a leg."

For now, Woodring is making his way around the hospital with a walker, and his aunt continues to post updates about his health on Facebook, cheering up friends and family.

"He's our little miracle," Miller said.

She said the one thing her nephew misses the most is hunting.

"He and my oldest son, Ethan, they're best friends and they had been planning their hunting strategies for this year," Miller said. "So this has put a damper on that but they're looking forward to next year."

"He knows it's going to be a rough road for a while," she added. "But he knows he's going to be able to walk again. He's got that drive. And technology today is limitless."