‘I feel so lucky to be here’ – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Swissvale woman involved in the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge said she is still in shock. She was a passenger on an Allegheny County Port Authority bus that was crossing the bridge when it collapsed Friday.

Anna Nichols said she was on bus 61B returning home from her job as a watchman in Pitt when the bridge collapsed below. She, another passenger and the bus driver were the only people on board at the time. She said she didn’t even realize what had happened until she stepped off the bus and witnessed the scene with her own eyes.

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“It just fell and we slipped and slipped,” Nichols said.

That’s how Nichols describes it as being on a bus when the bridge collapsed early Friday morning.

“I didn’t even know the bridge collapsed,” she said. “It was like 15 seconds. Boom, boom, boom. It’s just weird. Then we saw the car going over the bridge, one was on the roof. That’s when we thought we were in trouble.”

Sitting two seats behind bus driver Daryl Luciani, Nichols said he did what he could to keep the bus from drifting.

“He kept his foot on the brake because we didn’t know if we were going to back up (or) go forward,” she said.

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She said first responders arrived immediately, a rescue made more precarious due to the smell of natural gas in the air following the collapse.

“The gas line is broken,” Nichols said. “We have to get you off the bus.”

Rescuers have formed a so-called daisy chain, a chain of humans that can reach them. She said they then climbed down a ladder before being taken back to Frick Park, where she was examined by medical staff and allowed to go home.

Nichols said Monday that she still feels like she’s in shock, adding that she didn’t realize how serious the bridge collapse was until she saw it on television.

“I saw it on the news,” she said. “I said, ‘Wow.’ I feel very lucky here. I do.”

A Port Authority spokesman said that about two hours after the collapse, one of the passengers complained of several injuries and went to the hospital for an examination. The bus driver told KDKA-TV that he went for a check-up at a local medical facility and the hospital confirmed that he was not hospitalized.

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A total of 10 people were injured in the bridge collapse. UPMC said Monday that one person is still at a Presbyterian hospital. A source told KDKA-TV that the man suffered a broken neck and other injuries. ‘I feel so lucky to be here’ – CBS Pittsburgh


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