HomeNewsPittsburgh Bridge Collapse Survivors Describe Horrifying Experience

Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse Survivors Describe Horrifying Experience

by Victoria Santiago
(Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh bridge collapse that happened earlier this week left one injured couple with lasting traumatic damage. Tyrone and Velva Perry, both 69, were hurt during the collapse. According to their daughter, Erin Perry, the couple was on their way to take care of her 93-year old grandmother. During their drive over on Friday morning, the Forbes Avenue bridge over Fern Hollow Creek in Frick Park collapsed. The two were released from the hospital on Saturday night. They both suffered from fractured vertebrae. Even though they’re both out of the hospital, the collapse still haunts them.

“My father actually said every time he closes his eyes, he sees the bridge buckling, so he has experienced trauma. They both experienced trauma,” their daughter said. “As they were driving down the bridge, my father described seeing the bridge in front of him buckle, and then he noticed through the rearview mirror that behind them the bridge was buckling, and then they fell…the bridge was collapsing. He knew the bridge was collapsing. He thought he was going to die.”

Erin Perry’s mother was in the passenger seat of the red pickup truck that’s at the bottom of the ravine. While all this was happening, she was looking at her phone. So when the Pittsburgh bridge started to collapse, she originally thought they had been hit by another car. According to Perry, her mother was confused when their truck kept moving. Then, the pickup truck hit the ground. That wasn’t the end of the couple’s ordeal, though. “The other thing that happened is that there were cars coming from the other direction, one that flipped over towards them, and then the second came tumbling towards them and landed right beside the vehicle on its side,” Perry said.

Even With Injuries, the Couple Had To Get Out of Their Car Immediately

Unfortunately, even with fractured vertebrae, the couple had to move on their own. They couldn’t stay in their truck until help was able to get them out. Instead, due to the gas leak, they had to get out and evacuate the area. Their daughter said that “the sound of the gas, the way it was described, sounded like Niagara Falls.”

The couple was helped to safety by other victims and first responders, but they didn’t immediately get treatment for their injuries. Eventually, the two got put into an ambulance and sent to the hospital. Their daughter has put together a GoFundMe for the couple, as they begin to recover from the bridge collapse.

Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse Is a ‘Call to Action’ for Safety Board

This devastating bridge collapse has been an eye-opener for National Transportation Safety Board officials. The chairwoman of the NTSB, Jennifer Homendy, said that there will be an investigation into what caused this bridge collapse. “Although we can’t determine the cause of the collapse while we’re on the scene, this should serve as a call to action,” she said. “When I look at the position of the bus, and the position of the vehicles, I’m really thankful that no one lost their life in this collapse.”