WATCH: A Nanoose Bay woman has shared her terrifying ordeal exclusively with CHEK News. The mother of four was heading home early this morning when she drove into what she thought was just another puddle. Then suddenly her car was rolling over and over as it plunged down into a hole in the road caused by a washout. Kendall Hanson reports.
Karena Donnelly says it was the scariest night of her life.
She was driving back home after visiting her boyfriend on the mainland when she came to what she thought was a large puddle on Rumming Road. It was shortly after midnight and raining hard.
“When I got close enough I realized the road was gone,” recounted Donnelly. “So I hit the brakes and I stopped but the road under my car, I think, had nothing underneath it and it just fell and so I just went straight down nose first.”
Her car ended up flipping twice before settling upside down. Water was rushing over and into the car and mud was falling onto it.
“The first thing I did was try my horn cause I thought if I could start honking my horn somebody would know I’m there,” said Donnelly. “The horn didn’t work so then I panicked and [though] ‘I need to find my cell phone but there’s water filling the bottom of the car.'”
Remarkably, she found her phone still dry. The first call she made was to her boyfriend but the call dropped before her boyfriend could fully comprehend what was happening.
“At that point, I tried calling her back multiple times, Facebook message multiple times and then immediately shifted gears to 911,” said her boyfriend Marc Volkamer. “I got on with the operator and gave them all the information I could.”
Donnelly then called 911 and stayed on the line for three hours until a search and rescue technician was able to rappel down over twenty meters and get to her.
“My biggest fear was that another chunk of that wall was going to come down and bury me alive.”
Search and Rescue technicians were able to pull her to safety and paramedics rushed her to hospital.
She was treated for hypothermia. An MRI revealed no broken bones but she has many bruises and is sore.
Donnelly says all those involved in her rescue did an amazing job and says the terror she felt is something she hopes not to ever experience again.