Amazing! Everyone lived after an SUV fell from this section of the FDR Drive and onto a taxi cab -- and the cabby even walked away.
An SUV packed with seven passengers soared over a section of the FDR Drive at East 23rd Street and landed on a yellow cab on the road below – and everyone, including the lucky cabby, survived.
"I saw the SUV flying sideways ready to flip on the cab below," said eyewitness Gwendolyn London Jones, who watched helplessly from her nearby job.
"I heard everyone screaming, ‘Oh my god. Oh my god," she recalled. "I was in shock. Even I was screaming, ‘Oh my god.’"
It was just after 3 a.m. when Land Rover driver Eric Bryant, 38, of Manhattan, lost control, hit a guardrail and went flying off the roadway. After a death-defying dive, the truck landed about 20 feet below on a taxi.
Miraculously, 23-year-old Atif Raza walked out of his yellow Crown Victoria unscathed.
Raza, with seven-months on the job, had just dropped off a passenger on 92nd Street and was cruising downtown during his overnight shift, he said.
All of a sudden the car hailed from the heavens.
"It felt like an earthquake," he said.
The impact thrust his body towards the windshield and the roof caved in. "I didn’t know what it was," the still-shaken driver said.
He stood in shock, looking at the other injured passengers.
"I’m happy to be alive. I’m getting a second chance," he said, after coming home with some pain, and scratches on his right hand.
The Muslim cabby said he’d been slacking off on his prayers. "I’m really going to be going to the mosque now," he said.
But, the Pakistani driver, whose been in New York for three years, doesn’t know if he’ll drive the city’s iconic ride again. The Brooklyn resident said it was traumatizing to get into a car after being released from the hospital hours after the crash.
"When I sat in the car I felt uncomfortable. I was scared," he said.
At the scene of the accident London Jones was amazed that he walked out of the cab, and said the other seven’s injuries were more severe.
"There were two people in the front seat and they were saying, ‘Get me out of here! Help, help," she said. "The roof was crushing their heads."
A woman then emerged from the vehicle, and looked toward London Jones, a security guard at a local pool.
"Miss, can you tell me what happened?" she said
"She wasn’t bleeding. She didn’t have a scratch on her," London Jones said. "She was walking around looking for something on the ground, she was disoriented."
Then a bleeding female passenger exited the car, while a third woman moaned for help in the backseat.
A Good Samaritan, whose car broke down nearby, rushed to her aid.
"I tugged at her seatbelt and dragged her out of the window," said Brian Duncan.
Another man was also restrained by the harness. "The seatbelt was crushing him. There was nothing I could do for him because I didn’t have a knife," Duncan said.
All eight were rushed to Bellevue Hospital, and two were listed in critical condition. No charges were filed, and the driver passed a Breathalyzer test, police said.
The driver lost an ear and another woman had her leg amputated, according to his family.
Bryant was semi-unconscious when Duncan approached him and chatted him up to keep him awake. "My name is Eric," he told the do-gooder. "Where’s my wife? Where’s my wife?"
The cab cushioned the car’s amazing plummet.
"What’s really incredible is that all the people were alive," Duncan said. "If the cab wasn’t there they would be dead by now."