JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Although it wasn't a peak traffic time when a ship hit the Mathews Bridge on Thursday, there were several people traveling on the bridge and felt the ship crash into it.
"I saw that boat coming and I thought, 'That's tall, you know,'" said Roger Delaney, who was driving on the Mathews Bridge at the time. "It's one of the tallest ones I've seen come through there for a long time, and I thought, 'Man, is it going to make it?' And when I hit the top of the bridge, I felt the bridge do this. I thought what in the world is going on."
Delaney made it over the bridge and found out the horrifying truth when he got back to work. The bridge really did get hit.
At that point, he was shocked and thankful.
"Lucky in several ways because the chance that I was even there to experience it and then lucky the damage wasn't worse than it was and that nobody got hurt including myself," he said.
Delaney wasn't the only one watching the ship trying to make it under the bridge. David Kight, who works at the shipyard near the bridge, had a different view.
"I was standing right over there on the back of that barge that we have at dry dock," he said. "I'm saying, 'Man, that looks high. It looks like it's going to hit.'"
Kight said he was unable to look away to see if the ship would make it safely and saw the crash.
"It goes through just like a piece of pie, just like you cut a piece of pie or a piece of paper or something," he said.
Kight also saw the cars, like Delaney's, going by, unaware what exactly was unfolding beneath them.
"Pieces fell in the water," he said. "The best thing about it is it missed that X. Where that X is, had it hit that, that could've been a catastrophe. There was a big truck, a semi, it was white, and it was right there at the exact moment."
As soon as Kight saw what was happening, he pulled out his phone to dial 911.
"Bless the fact that nobody died," he said. "There was life and death there, but thank the Lord it worked like it did."