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Christian Kielbasa
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Posts: 1197

« Reply #75 on: June 06, 2009, 12:26:34 am »

'Now I Know What It's Like to Drown'
Truck Driver Survives Tragedy

By Sandra Grant, Staff Writer

    POINT PLEASANT - "Now I know what it's like to drown. I expected to die," said Bill Needham, a 27-year-old truck driver from Kernersville, N. C.

    Needham was one of the survivors of the tragic plunge of the "Silver Bridge" into the Ohio River Friday at Point Pleasant carrying untold numbers of hapless motorists to their deaths.

    A patient in Pleasant Valley Hospital here with a broken back, Needham thinks his truck driving partner is dead.

    "He was in the sleeping berth in the rear of the cab," Needham said from his hospital bed, "and I think he had strapped himself in. He had no chance. The cab went all the way to the bottom."

    Needham said he was still pinned inside the cab when it went under water and ''was running out of breath when I noticed a little crack in the window and finally forced it down - I managed to grab a box and hang on."

    Howard Boggs, 24, of Gallipolis, Ohio, also a patient in the same hospital with cuts and bruises, fears he lost his wife, Marjorie and 17-month- old daughter in the plunge.

    Boggs said he and his small family were returning to their home after visiting relatives in West Virginia when they became stalled in traffic on the bridge.

    "My wife noticed the bridge was quivering," he related tearfully, "and asked what would we do if this thing broke. Then, suddenly it broke and we went down."

    Boggs said he and his wife had just finished buying Christmas presents for the little girl.

    Bill Edmondson, a 38-year-old Hennis Freight Lines driver from King, N. C., said he apparently also lost his partner to the water.

    "The thing went down so fast I don't know how I got out of the cab," recalled Edmondson who was admitted to the same hospital with a broken right arm and head cuts.

    "I was starting down the Ohio side of the bridge when it suddenly started falling sideways. I didn't hear any noise or anything.

    "When I got in the water I got hold of a seat and that was all that kept me up until they pulled me out."

    Edmondson, who figures he was in the water at "least 10 minutes before he was pulled into a motorboat, said he looked into his rear mirror as he inched across the span and saw the bridge "loaded bumper to bumper with traffic as far back as I could see."

    After he surfaced, Edmondson said, he could see only one other person swimming in the water.

    Other survivors at this small, overworked hospital were either too dazed to recall what happened or under heavy sedation.

    One man, Frank Wamsley of Point Pleasant, just shook his head when approached for comment.

    Another of the injured, who was pulled from the water by a passing tow boat was Paul Scott of Ohio. He likewise had no comment.

    - 30 -
« Last Edit: June 06, 2009, 12:32:31 am by Christian Kielbasa » Report Spam   Logged
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