COLLEGE
02/17/2011 08:43 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Bianca Vera Jumps Off 40 Foot Bridge To Save Her Life

In an act of courage that saved her life, North Georgia College and State University student Bianca Vera, 22, jumped off a 40 foot bridge Thursday morning to avoid being hit by an oncoming truck -- and swam 100 yards to safety with a broken back, reports Access North Georgia.

According to My Fox Atlanta, Vera was driving to school when her SUV was clipped by a passing vehicle. She pulled over to assess the damage and saw a truck speeding towards her as she prepared to get back into her car.

She told CBS Atlanta: "The only thought that I remember is that thinking the car, the truck wasn't going to be able to stop and he had nowhere to go. It was either my car was going to hit me because it was about to hit my car or I had to jump."

After she jumped, Vera heard the truck slam into her vehicle. She surveyed the damage to her car later, and is convinced that had she would not have survived the ensuing crash -- which resulted in a multi-car pileup.

It took Vera around 45 minutes to swim through the freezing waters of Lake Lanier before she finally reached land, where emergency crews -- who were in the area for other crashes -- heard her cries.

Vera told My Fox Atlanta that she was jubilant when she saw light on shore -- "Hallelujah! It was like a miracle. It was like, 'Oh my God, I cannot believe it!"

Vera was taken to hospital, where she learned that she had broken a vertebrae when she hit the water.

The nursing student had hoped to be back in school this week, but might have to hold off until her back is healed.

Below, check out My Fox Atlanta's interview with Vera, and let us know what you think of this incredible story in the comments section.

Gainesville Woman Jumps from Bridge: MyFoxATLANTA.com