When Melanie Rossomando saw a thunderstorm approaching the Casino Pier amusement park on New Jersey's shore where she was celebrating her birthday, she "freaked out."
Rossomando, 17, was on top of a stalled amusement park ride at the time the storm approached on Saturday. Nonetheless, the teenager decided to jump from her chairlift ride 35 feet above the shore's sand rather than be stuck in the storm.
"In my mind I was like, I'm either getting struck by lightning or I'm breaking a leg maybe," Rossomando told News12 New Jersey. "I'm not a calm person. I'm really not. I freaked out."
Rossomando's leap of faith onto the beach was captured by bystanders and posted on YouTube. The video shows her kicking off her shoes before she makes the jump down, an increasingly darkening sky behind her. She left a companion behind sitting on the ride.
"You can hear in the video I was screaming bloody murder," she said.
Rossomando landed on the beach safely and, aside from a few bruises, was not seriously injured.
The teen was riding on the so-called Sky High ride that elevates riders above the famous Jersey Shore beach and boardwalk.
While startled witnesses saw Rossomando take the plunge, the very people operating the ride did not. The operators of the Casino pier said staff only learned that Rossomando had jumped from the ride when they saw the video on Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.