Survivors of I-80 crash meet their rescuers

Elizabeth Wolthoff (left) and Rebecca Winslow (right) meet their rescuers after they survived a car crash in Hackensack.

Elizabeth Wolthoff (left) and Rebecca Winslow (right) meet their rescuers after they survived a car crash in Hackensack. (3/13/15)

HACKENSACK - The two women who survived after their SUV fell off a bridge on Interstate 80 in Hackensack last month were given the opportunity to meet their rescuers Friday.

Best friends Elizabeth Wolthoff and Rebecca Winslow were driving to work Feb. 13 when they were cut off by a tractor-trailer. Their SUV swerved and went over the guardrail. It landed upright 60 feet below.

"When we first went over, all I saw was the river,” says Winslow. “I thought, 'please God, not the river.  It's so cold.'"

“[All] I could think was, ‘Did I kill her?'” recalls Wolthoff, who was driving.

The impact of the crash broke both of the girls’ backs. They have both undergone extensive surgery and now have rods and screws in their spines.

First responders say their survival is nothing short of miraculous.

"I'll never forget when [Wolthoff] started talking to me, and I feeling [her] pulse,” says Hackensack firefighter Michael Shiner. “It was a big surprise, a very pleasant surprise."

The girls say that although they are in pain, they hope time and physical therapy will help them to move on.

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