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How Deb survived driving off Swansea Bridge

How Deb survived driving off Swansea Bridge SAFE AND DRY: Deb Moroney, who survived plunging off the edge of the Swansea Bridge on Wednesday night, and her 12-year-old son Ethan, who made a late decision to ride with his dad instead. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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SAFE AND DRY: Deb Moroney, who survived plunging off the edge of the Swansea Bridge on Wednesday night, and her 12-year-old son Ethan, who made a late decision to ride with his dad instead. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

WITNESSES: Lockie Rose and Caleb Gilbert called triple-zero after a driver crashed off the Swansea Bridge into the channel below.

Swansea Bridge on Wednesday night, after the car went over the edge. Picture: Brodie Owen

Swansea Bridge on Wednesday night, after the car went over the edge. Picture: Brodie Owen

Swansea Bridge on Wednesday night, after the car went over the edge. Picture: Brodie Owen

Police divers retrieve the car’s number plate on Thursday. Picture: Brodie Owen

Police divers prepare to enter the water to locate the car. Picture: Brodie Owen

Police divers prepare to enter the water to locate the car. Picture: Brodie Owen

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Fire and Rescue NSW

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Fire and Rescue NSW

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Fire and Rescue NSW

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Fire and Rescue NSW

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

A separate accident in 2014 left a car teetering over Swansea channel. Pic: Matt Smith Photography

TweetFacebookRain had whipped through Swansea around 5pmas Ms Moroney and Mr Armstrongbegan their run home to Salt Ash after driving down to SwanseaforEthan’s team soccer practice.

At about 5.20pm, with therain setin, Ms Moroney pulled her son from practice earlyto start thehour-long drive home.

Butknowing shewascollecting her teenagedaughter Cassandra from her boyfriend’s house on the way, Ms Moroney told Ethan, “how about you go with your dad, mate”.

She thinks those words spared their lives.

“It would’ve been two fatals. Ethan can’t swim, and if he had been involved…”

As she screamed in the channel, alone, Ms Moroney was spotted by teenagers Caleb Gilbert and Lockie Rose.

The mates were about to go fishing in the channel atabout 5.30pm when they saw what seemedlike a boatbetweenthe pylons of the bridge.

Police divers retrieve the car’s number plate on Thursday. Picture: Brodie Owen

“I was getting our rods out of theuteand my matewas looking out at the channel. He said, ‘is that a car?’,”Mr Gilbert, 17, said.

“We could hear a lady yelling for help. The car started to sink pretty quick. She got out through the window, but she was getting dragged out [by the current].”

Mr Gilbert and Mr Rose, 18, ran onto the bridge and rang triple-zero.

They yelled outto Ms Moroneyto swim towards rocks near the Swansea RSL Club.

Once she stopped yelling her husband’sphone number –worry about himlater, urged the voices from the bridge – Ms Moroney reached the south bank of the channel and grabbed ontoa rock. Then another.

A resident with a housenear the waterfetchedMs Moroneya blanket, before police and paramedics arrived totake her to hospital.

She surprised everyone by being in good spirits, crackingjokes about going back for her phone and wallet. Her husbandand Ethan were almost at Belmont before they got thecall to turn around.

“Eth is shell shocked; hekept saying how grateful he is that mum is OK,” Mr Armstrong said.

“He’s now going over all his belongings –some brand new –that are still in the car. He was also pretty impressed with his ambulance ride.”

Deb and Rod Moroney with son Ethan Armstrong and baby Noah Armstrong at their home in Salt Ash on Thursday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Police said the car had broken through guard rails on the bridge’s outernorthbound lane and pitched into the channel.

They advisedboat owners to steer clear of the area.

One northbound lane was closedfrom Wednesday nightas Roads and Maritime Services assessed the damage.

Police divers at Swansea found the sunken Falcon on Thursday afternoon, and a recovery team will attempt to retrieve it on Friday.

Police investigations into the crash continue.