Dan Sligh called his plunge Thursday from Washington state's collapsed Interstate-5 bridge into the Skagit River a "rough day."
But it could have been much worse for Sligh and his wife, if not for Sligh's calm under pressure, according to KOMO TV.
Upon impact into the frigid water about 60 miles north of Seattle, the Navy veteran popped in his dislocated shoulder to free his unconscious wife, Sally, from the passenger seat. He then pulled her to the less-submerged driver's side, he recounted in the Associated Press video above. When Sally later regained consciousness and began to panic, Sligh began a conversation with another survivor waiting on his vehicle to normalize an otherwise surreal situation.
"I knew I had to stay calm to keep her calm," he told KOMO.
They waited in the water with their semi-submerged vehicle for between an hour and a hour and a half before a rescue diver reached them, he recalled.
Photos and video show Sligh waiting on the side rail of his truck with his wife inside.
According to several reports, Sligh sustained cuts and bruises, while his wife suffered internal bleeding and was kept overnight at Skagit Valley Hospital. The Associated Press said her injuries were "non-life threatening," as were the injuries to the other man who fell into the water with his vehicle.
A truck with an oversized load clipped the bridge's overhead support on Thursday night, apparently causing part of the span and two vehicles to plummet into the Skagit River, the AP reported. Photos indicate that neither vehicle completely sank.