Driver Catches Moments After Bay Bridge Crash on Camera

NTSB to send investigators to scene this week to evaluate safety of bridge

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    NEWSLETTERS

    News 4's Chris Gordon talked to the Arlington, Va., man who shot cell phone video of a woman clinging to rocks after her car plunged into the Chesapeake Bay following an accident on the Bay Bridge on Friday. (Published Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013)

    Seconds after Morgan Lake's car plunged off the Bay Bridge Friday, one driver was able to capture amazing footage of her swimming to safety.

    Scott Fortney, a real estate broker from Alexandria, was three cars behind Lake when a tractor trailer slammed into the back of her car, pushing the Chrysler Sebring over the jersey wall and into the water.

    Lake's car went under the water while she was still wearing her seat belt, and water began to rush into her vehicle.

    In an interview with NBC4, Lake said, "The longest part was under the water, because I had time to think I was going to die and the time to process, to change my mind and to stop fighting and to relax my body and unbuckle my seat belt to swim out."

    Bay Bridge Safety Concerns

    [DC] Bay Bridge Safety Concerns
    Two recent crashes on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, including one that ended with a car in the water, have even those who cross the span every day concerned about safety. (Published Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013)

    Lake managed to swim in the cold, dark water with her eyes closed to reach land. She clung to the rocks surrounding the bridge's piling as several on-lookers made sure she was okay.

    In the video, a number of people can be heard talking to Lake.

    "Hang on! We've called 911...," one man close the camera yells. "They're on their way. They're sending help."

    Lake tells them she's by herself and asks for someone to call her mom.

    The same man can be heard asking Lake her name. When she answers, he shouts, "Morgan, hold on, help is coming."

    Rescuers arrived to the scene and Lake was flown to shock trauma in Baltimore. She is now recovering at home and uses a walker to get around. 

    "I'm incredibly happy that she's safe and not injured," Forney said.

    Forney said he was not looking for any sort of recognition by recording the video.

    "It's an incredible event that just happened in front of my eyes, that's all," Forney said.

    Lake credits her ability to swim and her faith for getting her through the ordeal.

    Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board will be sending investigators to the Bay Bridge this week to evaluate safety issues after prompts from the AAA. In a statement, the Maryland Transportation Authority said they will be working closely with the NTSB during the investigation.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE ON NBCWashington.com:

    Watch Fortney's video below: