In a scene right out of a Hollywood thriller, a young woman finds herself at the edge of a 40-foot bridge with a large truck hurtling toward her. She has two choices: be hit by the truck, or make the jump and hope she survives.
Bianca Vera decided to take the leap of faith when she found herself caught in blizzard conditions driving to her college in Atlanta when a van careened into her. She got out to inspect the damage only to discover another out-of-control headed toward her. To dodge the oncoming vehicle, the 22-year-old made a split-second decision and leaped from the bridge into the dark night and the icy waters of Lake Lanier below.
The impact reportedly broke her back, but she somehow managed to swim to the nearest shore, about 100 yards away.
"He clips the back of my car and I hit the side guard rail ... and lost control of my car. I get out of my car to see what the damage had been, and when I was going back to the door... I see headlights," Bianca recalled. "That's when I realized that I had to get out of the way. There was a car next to him, it was icy, I knew he couldn't stop. So it was either... gonna hit my car and then hit me or I was gonna jump and take my chances. So that's what I did," she told ABC News.
The water was so cold, it numbed most of her body. "I thought I was dead at that point," she remembers.
"I remember swimming and I didn't think I would make it. I remember being in the middle of the water and I could see the cars up there so I started yelling: 'Help, please help me!'"
When no one responded to her cries, Bianca began to pray. "It wasn't until yesterday that I realized that the only person who needed to hear me was God. And he helped me and he was there, and he was the one who got me to the shore," she said, remembering the pain of the fall which had broken her back.
The swim to shore took nearly an hour.
When she reached shore, she continued to yell for help. That's when rescuers who had responded to the scene heard her cries.
"I've never actually been a part of rescuing somebody that has jumped off a bridge. A lot of times those are body recoveries," one firefighter told ABC News.
Bianca says the jumped saved her life -- in more ways than one.
"I can't take anything for granted, nothing at all. And I was obviously put here for a reason," she said. "God spared my life. I have a purpose and I just have to find it."