Wednesday, February 02, 2011

SIA Newsletter - February 1, 2011 - SUV Goes Off Our Bridge!

This issue will deal only with an accident that could have been tragic but ended with the car's occupants getting out safely.

At lunchtime today, Sea Isle City twins Michael and Nicole Crudele, seniors at Ocean City High School and nephew and niece of SIC Mayor Len Desiderio, were returning home from school when their Ford Expedition went out of control on the toll bridge over the Strathmere Bay, jumped the curb, careened through the railing on the northeast side, hung there and then plunged into the bay, sinking immediately in some fifteen feet of water. Luckily, they were both able to escape through broken windows and swim to shore (it was low tide). They were helped by residents and then taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City. Michael was released and Nicole will probably be released tomorrow.

The bridge remains closed while temporary repairs are made to the railing.

Here is the view from the Deauville Beach House at 1:30. The kids have already gone.

Speculating here: it appears the SUV came around the toll booth, started to brake on this side, and skidded on the wet metal grid (there was no icing at the time).
The SUV then jumped that curb, took out both a traffic light pole (like the one left of the toll booth) and a heavy traffic control box before going through the railing and into the bay.

There's where they went through...

Pulling the traffic light pole back up...

Divers prepare to go after the car...

But first they have to pull out that traffic control box.

Here it is; several newscasts showed video of this in the water and said it was the car.

That thing is heavy!

Now back for the car (so deep it could not be seen from the bridge - only bubbles).

Once the car was "hooked", it was winched in part way but the strain became too much.

The front end loader was used to provide some upward force on the winch line...

Here it comes!


Soooo, lucky....

The divers...

Meanwhile, temporary barriers are erected at the opening...

Luckily, they were able to escape through the broken windows...


A deployed airbag.

Wires where the traffic control box had been...

And off it goes....

As you can imagine, this got a lot of coverage.
The Press of Atlantic City has a good article here; Channel 40 coverage here, and Channel 6 here (Channel 6 pictures by Grace Curran - there was video on the news, but doesn't seem to be any here).

It could have been so much worse...!

Butch Vandegrift - President

Linda Bateman -Vice-President
Donna Diefenderfer - Treasurer
Dorothy Addario - Recording Secretary
Ken Weaver - Corresponding Secretary

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