Within seconds, their thoughts went from dinner plans and relieving babysitters to matters of life and death.
"All I could think of was, God, this was not the way I wanted to die," survivor Kelly Kahle recounted while telling Good Morning America about her experience Wednesday.
For hundreds of people traveling over the I 35 W bridge in Minneapolis, Wednesday night was a living nightmare.
Kahle, along with her friend Kimberly Brown, were in one of the 50 cars that plummeted into the Mississippi River when the bridge collapsed. Luckily, they survived the incredible ordeal to tell their tales.
Everyday, over 140,000 cars pass over the Minneapolis bridge, and it was relatively young, only 42 years old—so no one ever expected such a tragic event. Until Wednesday, when the bridge began to give subtle warning signs—from quiet rumblings to a swaying structure.
Kahle said she knew something was about to happen, "it felt like it was oscillating a little bit and we saw the road rise up in front of us before we fell."
In another part of the ruble, was new mom Melissa Hughes, in her car that was crushed underneath a car falling from the broken bridge.
"The sound is gone from my memory," Hughes notes, "but the feeling is kind of a free fall feeling at a amusement park ride and that it can't be real."
Sitting in her car, Hughes said she felt the impact of a car, but never imagined it was on top of her. While she was trapped, Hughes told GMA, all she could think about was her three-month-old daughter. "I wanted her there once I got out," Hughes said. "I wanted to hold her."
And her wish was granted. Shortly after escaping from her car, she was reunited with Olivia, thanks to her husband who brought Olivia to the scene.
Not far from Hughes' crushed car was Gary Babineau, whose pick-up truck was engulfed in flames. Miraculously, he walked away with nothing more than a few cuts and bruises.
But Babinaeu wasn't concerned with his truck, he was too close to the school bus full of children to think about it. He rushed to the scene to see what he could do to help
"I was down grabbing kids, too. There were so many kids and they were screaming and we were just carrying them to safety or telling them just to run," Babineau recalled. "Everybody was helping out as best they could."
Babineau said he wouldn't be alive today had he not been wearing his seatbelt.
"I probably would have went through the windshield," he said. "I'm just so glad I was wearing it. So, thanks, Mom, for telling me to wear my seat belt."