-- A college student in Long Island, New York, who was sleeping when a 5,000-pound tree crashed through her roof didn't think she would be alive to tell her miraculous story of survival.
"I cannot express in words how thankful I am for everyone who saved my life," Stephanie Epstein said Friday at a news conference.
The 20-year-old recounted the terrifying moment earlier this week when the massive tree came crashing into the bed where she was sleeping.
“All of the sudden I heard a big crash,” she said. “I thought it was thunder and the next thing I knew I was pinned under the tree.”
Her father rushing to her room to find her trapped and begging for help
"You realize there is a tree trunk laying across your daughter,” said Geoffrey Epstein. “I swear, it's the most frightening moment of my life."
It took dozens of rescuers working over two hours late Sunday night to free her.
“I was trying so hard to breathe just focusing on shutting my eyes,” said Stephanie Epstein, “hoping that would help time pass and begging everyone get this tree off me. Please.”
"Each minute felt like 10 years and this went on for almost two-and-a-half hours," added Geoffrey Epstein.
Other than bruises and muscle damage in her legs, Stephanie Epstein escaped without serious injury.
Doctors attribute the miracle to the fact that she was sleeping on her side, saying mere inches separated her from a much more serious injury.
"The fact that you have a 5,000-pound tree fall on you and you're pinned to the bed without any life altering injuries,” said Dr. Matthew Bank, director of trauma at North Shore University Hospital, “I just think it's incredible. She is one lucky girl."
Epstein thanked first responders and doctors for saving her life.
"Without them, I wouldn't be here. I didn't think I would make it," Epstein said.