Victim of Florida Roller Coaster Derailment Reveals Her Pain: 'I Really Thought I Was Going to Die'
Melissa Collins says she was on the last day of a vacation in Daytona Beach when she got on the Sand Blaster roller coaster with a friend.
A mother of two young children was on the last day of a vacation to Florida when she suffered horrific injuries in last week's roller coaster tragedy.
Melissa Collins said she was terrified as the Sand Blaster roller coaster suddenly derailed while she was riding with a friend.
"All I was thinking was, 'I'm dying. I'm dying,'" she told Inside Edition.
Powering into a sharp turn, the front car went off the tracks, ejecting two passengers and leaving Melissa trapped, dangling three stories above the ground.
"I knew as it came around that it wasn't going to make that turn," she said. "I knew something wasn't right and just in a matter of seconds, my car derailed."
She was hanging off the car but a mystery good Samaritan held onto her and was able to pull her in.
“He helped me, he kept me calm, and told me to try to slow down my breathing," she said. “I had blood coming out of my ears and mouth.”
The stranger who calmed Melissa down following the accident later reached out to her on Facebook to wish her a speedy recovery.
She dangled out of the car for 45 minutes, forcing blood to come out of her ears and nose.
"I could not talk, couldn't breathe and remember praying within my mind that God would spare my life and let me see my kids and husband," she said.
Melissa is still in excruciating pain. She suffered a fractured jaw, broken arm, collarbone, crushed ribs and spinal injuries.
Her attorney says the 40-year-old Sand Blaster ride was inherently dangerous.
“With this roller coaster, it wasn’t a matter of if a tragedy was going to happen, it was when a tragedy was going to happen," her attorney said.
Now Melissa and five other riders who were injured on the Sand Blaster face a long road of recovery.
"I really thought I was going to die," she said.
The roller coaster has been in operation for 40 years and was looked at by regulators mere hours before the incident. It was found to be "in compliance with state law."
"We have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident, and anyone who should be held accountable will be held accountable," the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a statement.
The ride has been shut down indefinitely while the investigation into the accident continues.
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