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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) A Maryland woman who survived a plunge off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after a crash says she decided she didn't want to die and swam to safety.

Morgan Lake, 22, of Sunderland was on her way to visit friends and relatives in Philadelphia on Friday when her car was hit by a tractor trailer, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. The car teetered on the wall for a time and then fell for what Lake said "felt like eternity."

Once it landed in the bay, 40 feet below the bridge, water rushed into the car and Lake said she thought she was drowning.

"Then I felt I didn't want to drown. I didn't want to go out that way," she said. "The longest part was under the water because I had the time to think I was going to die."

Lake said that once she told herself that she could save her own life, she relaxed, unbuckled her seatbelt and swam out. She pushed off the car for momentum and rose to the surface and took a breath.

She swam to some rocks, where she climbed up and waited for help. Division Chief Keith Swindle of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said a passing boater stayed with her until police and fire department boats arrived.

Lake was taken to the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and released the next day.

A student at the College of Southern Maryland student, Lake said she was in pain, but she suffered only bumps and bruises.

Melani Lake credited her daughter's "sheer will to survive." She said she knew her daughter was an athlete, but "we didn't know she could swim like that."

The collision occurred Friday night in the eastbound lanes of the bridge, which connects Maryland's Eastern Shore with the rest of the state. The accident occurred about a quarter-mile onto the span. The vehicle went into water that was about 8 feet deep.

Police said no charges had been filed.

In 2010, Travel and Leisure magazine named the 4.3-mile span that connects the Eastern Shore to the rest of Maryland as one of the scariest bridges in the world.