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Hero firefighter describes rescue of semitruck driver dangling from bridge

Bryce Carden speaks to Good Morning America, Mar. 4, 2024. — GMA/ABC News

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — A semitruck driver survived a harrowing 40 minute rescue high above the Ohio River thanks to a firefighter who successfully pulled the woman from the cab to safety.

“She was you know, scared,” firefighter Bryce Carden told ABC News of the driver who, according to investigators, was sent over the edge after a vehicle crossed into the wrong lane and struck the semi.

“It is tremendously lucky if you look at the way that that semi truck threaded the needle of those bridge stanchions, but then ended up getting wedged in there and not plowing through and ending up in the water is tremendously lucky,” Chief of Louisville Fire Department Brian O’Neill said.

Footage of the incident showed the truck cabin dangling off of Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville with the driver still inside.

Once on the scene Carden lowered himself down to help pull the driver to safety.

He recalled the driver repeating “thank God” and asked him to help her.

“I was able to coach her through, helping me get done what I needed to get done to perform the rescue,” he said.

The risky operation, in which Carden rappelled down and hooked the woman into his harness, took nearly 40 minutes as the two were carefully hoisted back up onto the bridge above the water.

“Finally, when she realized she was safe and she was going to live, she was overcome with emotions as anybody would be,” Carden said.

According to ABC News’ Louisville affiliate WHAS, the two other people involved in the crash were seriously injured.

Speaking to the press on Saturday, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said that according to Louisville Metro Police’s preliminary investigation, “witnesses told police a vehicle traveling southbound on the Clark Memorial Bridge when it hit a stalled vehicle that was in the right lane of the southbound vehicles,” WHAS reported. “After the impact, the driver of that vehicle lost control and crossed into the northbound lane where that vehicle struck the Sysco truck which was traveling north.”

Greenberg praised the driver for her bravery and the rescue team for their heroic action.

“She is incredible brave. She is incredibly fortunate,” he said.

“I’ve played a very small piece in a large puzzle,” Carden said. “I contribute all of the success of it to the guys topside and the guys on the bottom who helped make it happen.”

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