Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Fearless Driver Successfully Jumps Rising NJ Drawbridge

Accident The bridge lifted because a man in the control booth was blinded by the sun and thought they would be off the end of the bridge when it began lifting  Family Forced to Jump New Jersey Drawbridge
Sammy Stanley | 21 August, 2017, 01:42

A family heading to Cape May, New Jersey, found themselves in an improbable situation when a drawbridge started to lift as they attempted to drive across it earlier this month.

A driver was forced to gun his engine and jump a drawbridge that began rising as he crossed it with his family.

A fishing vessel was attempting to to pass underneath the bridge, but its radio was not working and the operator couldn't contact it, officials said.

With not many options to choose from, driver Terence Naphys made a decision to put his foot down and see if he could make the gap.

"It's scary what's going through your mind", Terence told NBC 4.

They landed on the other side and drove away safely, but Naphys told WCAU his RAV4 had sustained about $10,000 in damages, including a bent suspension.

"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.

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Mr Naphys was reportedly already near the centre of the bridge and was forced to accelerate his Toyota RAV 4 to jump the 6ft gap out of fear the vehicle would fall 65ft into the deep bay below.

"Oh, I'll never cross that bridge again", he said.

When they landed the vehicle sustained $10,000 in damages, though no one inside was hurt. "[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".

Investigators told WCAU the incident was considered an operator error, and remains under investigation.

Cape May County officials say the bridge, which was first built in 1940 and has no safety mechanisms in place, needs some $200 million in repairs.

Authorities say the operator of the bridge was at fault for causing the scare.

While Naphys is proud of his white-knuckle heroics, he says he's officially retired from jumping the Middle Thorofare Bridge.

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