Girl, 16, breaks ribs, punctures lung after woman shoves her from Washington bridge
Updated 4:50 PM; Posted 10:26 AM
Updated 1:25 a.m.
A Washington teen is recovering from near-fatal injuries after a woman shoved her Tuesday off a bridge that spans a popular swimming area in Clark County, the sheriff's office said.
The 50-foot-plunge near Moulton Falls shattered Jordan Holgerson's ribs, punctured her lung and bruised her esophagus, the girl and her mother said.
The Kalama teen and a group of friends had decided to beat the afternoon heat by going swimming at Moulton Falls Regional Park.
Just before 2:45 p.m., the friends climbed the bridge that spans the Lewis River near the falls, which is a popular spot among swimmers.
As Holgerson stood at the open side of the railing, she appeared to have second thoughts about jumping, video of the incident shows.
A woman behind Holgerson suddenly pushes her. The girl screams and her arms windmill through the air.
Holgerson's face and chest strike the water first.
The woman had apparently grown impatient with Jordan's hesitation, Genelle Holgerson, her mother, told The Daily News of Longview.
"She could have killed my daughter," Genelle Holgerson said, adding the woman and her daughter knew one another.
Sgt. Brent Waddell, a spokesman for the Clark County Sheriff's Office, told The Oregonian/OregonLive the incident is under investigation.
Jordan Holgerson said she might have drowned had someone not swum out to save her. Emergency personnel rushed her to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.
"We're lucky she is going to recover and not have permanent injuries," Genelle Holgerson said.
Jordan previously told KATU (2) that a friend had pushed her off the bridge, but during a Wednesday afternoon news conference organized by PeaceHealth, she declined to talk about what happened or who was on the bridge.
She did say, however, that she felt like "I could have died easily. ... I'm happy I'm OK."
Jordan said she was "awake and aware" when she hit the water and during the fall was thinking about what she should do.
"In the air I was trying to push myself forward so I could be straight up so my feet hit first, but that didn't work," she said during the news conference. "I went under and I thought I was swimming fine, but I don't know. I couldn't breathe, so that's all I could really think about."
Trauma surgeon MaryClare Sarff, speaking at the news conference, said Jordan was fortunate it wasn't worse.
"When you fall three times your height, 50 percent of people will die. That's usually about 25 feet," Sarff said. Even on water, "when you're falling from (60 feet), that's like falling on concrete. She could have broken her neck, she could have been a quadriplegic."
As far as the attention coming from her story going viral, Jordan said: "I don't really like it. There's too many notifications on my phone. I can't keep up."