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Father jumps car over open drawbridge in terrifying stunt to save family

Chris Baynes
Father jumps car over open drawbridge in terrifying stunt to save family

A father drove his car over an opening drawbridge in a death-defying stunt to avoid plunging into the water below.

Terence Naphys was crossing New Jersey's Middle Thorofare Bridge with his family when its steel ramp began to lift beneath them.

Mr Naphys was reportedly already near the centre of the bridge and was forced to accelerate his Toyota RAV 4 to jump the 6ft gap out of fear the car would fall 65ft into the deep bay below.

The vehicle flew through the air and landed safety on the other side.

"It's scary what's going through your mind. We could have all landed in the water, Mr Naphys told NBC Philadelphia.

He added: "I will never ever drive that bridge or probably any drawbridge again."

No one was hurt but the vehicle sustained $10,000 (£7,800) damage.

Mr Naphys was on holiday his wife Jacquelyn, daughter Kaity, 16, and her 16-year-old friend, when the incident happened. They had been travelling from Wildwoods to Cape May, which are connected by the bridge, to go for dinner on August 1.

An operator is thought to have been temporarily blinded by sun glare as he opened the drawbridge to let a fishing vessel pass.

The operator believed the family's car had already safely passed over.

The bridge's operator is thought to have been blinded by sunlight (Google Street View)

Mrs Naphys noticed the bridge lifting and alerted her husband.

“It wasn’t until we were at the very edge when I saw the bridge might be opening,” she told the Courier-Post.

“I wasn’t nervous until we landed. That’s when we realised the bridge wasn’t just a little bit open.”

Cape May County Bridge Commission has launched an investigation into the incident.

The bridge was built in 1940 and needs as much as $200 million (£155m) worth of repairs and renovations, according to officials.