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Survivor reflects on 20th anniversary of Queen Isabella Causeway collapse

4 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago Wednesday, September 15 2021 Sep 15, 2021 September 15, 2021 6:14 PM September 15, 2021 in News - Local

Valley residents came together Wednesday to mark the 20 anniversary of the Queen Isabella Causeway collapse.

At around 2 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2001, a barge crashed into the bridge. It caused a huge chunk of it to crumble into the water - along with 11 people who were driving on the bridge when it happened.

RELATED: On 20th anniversary of Queen Isabella Causeway collapse, community remembers lives lost

Eight people died while three others survived

One of those three survivors was Gustavo Morales.

"On my way to the causeway coming from the bay I saw some flashing lights, but I was thinking, ‘It's Friday night, people are fishing. What else can it be?’" Morales recalled. "I never imagined that it was an advice to let the driver know that something bad was in front of us, so I kept driving. Five, 10, 15 seconds after I was flying."

After hitting the water, Gustavo says he was in shock and didn’t know how he had wound up there. Then, he felt the overwhelming feeling of fear.

“At one point I thought I was gonna die there,” Morales said.

At the Wednesday memorial ceremony, local boaters held a memorial service on the water to talk about why this memory still stays strong. Morales said he’ll never forget the collapse.

"Every single day a light, or small detail, always brings back memories,” Morales said. “I always remember what I went through. That's my advice, not to wait until something bad happens to give thanks. Be thankful every single day. Not one day, not in an hour, not in the next minute. So just be ready and enjoy your life."

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