Former Baywatch star-turned relic hunter Donna D'Errico has her mountain guide to thank for her life after he scooped her to safety when she started plummeting to her death in a rock slide.

In a tearful chat with Access Hollywood, the actress has opened up about the accident which left her beaten and swollen during a summer expedition to find the remains of Noah's Ark in Turkey.

D'Errico admits it was a sudden fear of what she was doing that prompted the slide, which almost cost her her life.

She explains, "I made the mistake of looking back and I looked behind me and we were so far up on the face of this rock... and I'm not a professional rock climber... I realized what kind of danger I was in. All I started thinking about was my kids.

"(I thought), 'I can die right now if I lose my footing...' I felt my whole body tense up and I didn't test the rocks like I should have... and I stepped on the wrong one and it pushed all of the others out of place and I was basically on top of a rock slide.

"My face was dragging over the face of all of these rocks; I was ping-ponging like a pinball machine... I was trying to stop myself and I couldn't."

Her Turkish guide managed to scramble to her before she disappeared over a cliff.

She adds, "I think my feet were dangling (over the edge)."

The terrifying accident forced her to return to her home last month, but D'Errico insists the trip was eye-opening and she will be heading back to Turkey in the near future to continue her epic quest - and fulfill a "lifelong dream".