LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — Powerful video of a woman clinging to the rocks below the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after her car plunged over the side has surfaced.
The video shows Morgan Lake, 22, dazed but able to communicate with passers by as she waits for help to arrive.
Lake was on her way to visit friends and relatives in Philadelphia last Friday when her car was hit by a tractor trailer, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. The car teetered on the wall for a time and then fell for what Lake said “felt like eternity.”
Once it landed in the bay, 40 feet below the bridge, water rushed into the car and Lake said she thought she was drowning.
“Then I felt I didn’t want to drown. I didn’t want to go out that way,” she said. “The longest part was under the water because I had the time to think I was going to die.”
Lake said that once she told herself that she could save her own life, she relaxed, unbuckled her seatbelt and swam out. She pushed off the car for momentum and rose to the surface and took a breath.
Lake swam to some rocks, where she climbed up and waited for help. Division Chief Keith Swindle of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said a passing boater stayed with her until police and fire department boats arrived.
Lake was taken to the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and released the next day.
Melani Lake credits her daughter’s “sheer will to survive.” She said she knew her daughter was an athlete, but “we didn’t know she could swim like that.”
The National Transportation Safety Board announced Wednesday that it will investigate the crash.
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