A New Jersey family narrowly survived when they were forced to jump across an opening drawbridge.

Terrance Naphys and his family were headed to Cape May earlier this month when they found themselves on the verge of plunging off of the Middle Thorofare Bridge. Their vehicle was positioned on the metal gate of the bridge when it suddenly began to rise from under them. When they were six feet in the air, Naphys made the decision to floor it and attempt to jump over the growing gap.

“He accelerated, and of course then we landed with a big impact on the concrete on the side,” his wife Jackie recalled the terrifying moment.

Her husband, while shaken from the scary encounter, believes his risky maneuver saved his family’s lives. Luckily, their car suffered only minor damage, and they’re all okay.

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“I’m thankful we’re still here because I think if we went in the water or stayed on the bridge, we wouldn’t still be here, or we’d be seriously, seriously injured,” he said.

Naphys had just paid the toll to cross the bridge and was continuing on his way when it started to open. State police indicated that a vessel was attempting to pass under the bridge and clarified that they thought the metal gate was cleared when they decided to open it.

“An employee for the Cape May County Bridge Commission stated that a large vessel was approaching the bridge and they had no contact with that vessel due to their radio being down,” they explained. “[The employee] advised me that he anticipated all vehicles being clear, and all rails being down, but wasn’t sure due to a strong sun glare.”

Authorities have determined that the Cape May County Bridge Commission is to blame for the potentially deadly incident, and the bridge commission released a statement saying, “We take the safety of the traveling public very seriously and systems are in place to prevent incidents like the one that has been reported from occurring. Once the results of our investigation are complete we will take any and all necessary action to insure the continued safety of our customers.”

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Carlin Becker About the author:
Carlin Becker is an Associate Content Editor at Rare. Follow her on Twitter @_carlbeck.
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