Collapse survivor: 'It was a rough day. I'm glad to be breathing'
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- When Dan Sligh and his wife got into their truck to begin a camping trip Thursday evening, they never could have imagined they would end up in the frigid Skagit River tangled in the wreckage of a collapsed bridge.
But that's exactly what happened, and Sligh can't believe he's alive to tell the story.
Sligh said he and his wife, Sally, were crossing the bridge behind a semi-truck pulling a wide load at about 7 p.m.
"I was commenting to my wife that it seemed that load he was carrying was about 4-feet wider than the actual bridge," he said.
Moments later, Sligh's world literally came crashing down when the semi crashed into part of the bridge.
"He hit the bridge, there was a big puff of dust and I hit the brakes. The weight of the trailer and everything else, we went right off with the bridge as it collapsed into the Skagit River," he said.
A split second later the truck was submerged in the river.
"It was just a white flash and cold water," he said. "The Skagit is quite cold this time of year."
The truck top was caved in on the cab, and Sligh realized he had dislocated his shoulder on impact. He popped his shoulder back in place and began tending to his wife.
"I couldn't see my wife in the passenger seat. I asked if she was okay and she wasn't responding," he said.
He reached over and pulled her towards him as the water level was rising in the cab. With the truck settled in and his wife out of harm's way, Sligh waited for the rescue crews to arrive.
It was then that he began to take stock of what had just happened.
"You talk miracles, I don't know what you want to call it. When you're sitting down in the water and there's all that mangled metal and bridge and you're looking around, kind of pinching yourself because you're realizing you're lucky to be alive, it's a pretty amazing day," he said.
Sligh and his wife were taken to Skagit Valley Hospital. He was treated for cut and bruises and is expected to be fine. He said Sally has internal bleeding and will need to stay overnight, but she, too, should be alright.