I-5 bridge collapse survivor: 'I was really, really scared'

OAK HARBOR, Wash. - The lone woman who survived last week's collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River is telling her story for the first time since being released from the hospital.

In an exclusive interview with KOMO News, Sally Sligh says she is still recovering from the harrowing ordeal.

The Oak Harbor woman and her husband Dan were riding across the bridge when the concrete gave way on Thursday.

"That really was us, and that really did happen," she says. She and her husband weren't sure at the time if they'd make it back home, on the couch with their daughter.

"I'm still hurting all over my body," says Sally.

She was released from the hospital on Friday night. The couple is still recovering from cuts and bruises after the truck they were riding in plunged into the Skagit River on Thursday afternoon - as the bridge crumbled beneath them.

Sally remembers it well. One moment she and her husband were traveling in their pickup, looking forward to a camping trip and the next they were plunging toward the icy cold waters of the river.

"He said, 'Babe, babe - are you OK? Are you OK?' And then I opened my eyes, and there's the water," says Sally.

When their truck hit the water, Dan's shoulder was dislocated and Sally was knocked unconscious. When she finally came to, she was terrified.

"I was so scared - I was shaking. I was really, really scared 'cause first, I don't know how to swim," she says.

Sally followed her husband's instructions to crawl over to him while Dan, a Navy airman, popped his own shoulder back into place.

"And then when I looked up and that's when I realized the bridge was collapsed, and I saw this lady ask me, 'Are you OK? Are you OK? Call 911 - that's what I told her!" says Sally.

Dan climbed to the hood of the truck and spotted another survivor, Bryce Kenning, who was taking refuge on the hood of his own car.

"I just kept ... kind of praying and said, 'Oh please save us, please save us,'" Sally remembers.

Shortly after, emergency crews rescued Dan, Sally and Bryce by boat.

"Bridges from now on are probably going to be in the back of our mind, no matter what," she says.

Even the ride home from the hospital - crossing Deception Pass Bridge - was hard for Sally.

"Every time I saw the bridge ... I was like, 'Oohhh no, no - I'm scared, I'm scared - we are going to fall again."

Despite what they've been through, Sally and Dan are in good spirits.

Dan says he can now cross "surviving a bridge collapse" off his bucket list.

A couple for more than 20 years - they now are a couple of survivors.

"Life is precious," says Dan.

Adds Sally: "Love each other 'cause you never know. In a second you're gone - we are so lucky we are alive right now."