05/11/2012 04:01 pm ET

Kelli Groves And Her Daughters Reunite With The Rescuers Who Saved Them From Dangling Car

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In an emotional reunion this week, a mother got to personally thank the men who rescued her and her two young daughters after a horrific car crash left them teetering on the brink of death, MSNBC reports.

In January this year, Kelli Groves was driving on a bridge in Santa Barbara, Calif., with her daughters 10-year-old Sage and 10-week-old Mylo, when an 18-wheeler smashed into their car and careened over the edge, KSEE24 News reports.

The truck plummeted into a ravine a hundred feet below, killing its driver.

Incredibly, Groves and her daughters survived, but the impact of the accident left their car teetering dangerously from the side of the bridge.

Speaking on "TODAY," Groves recalled the harrowing hours before their rescue.

"I remember each step of the way and the terror of looking down and realizing how high we were and what fate could lie ahead of us," Groves said.

Luckily for the 36-year-old elementary school teacher and her children, three serendipitous coincidences would converge to save their lives.

According to, a tow truck driver who was on the scene attached the car to his truck to help stabilize it after calling 911.

A group of experienced fire captains from around California responded to the emergency call. They had happened to be at a training session just five miles away from the site of the accident.

Before long, a team of Navy Seabees who were stuck in the traffic resulting from the accident also came to lend a hand. Fortunately, they happened to have a massive fork-lift with them -- an indispensable piece of machinery that was able to stabilize the dangling car.

Through it all, Groves said that Santa Barbara County firefighter Greg Nuckols was her “rock," giving her the courage to hang on.

“It was someone I could communicate with directly. As he would walk away, I would find myself saying, ‘Where's Greg? Where's Greg?' He just reminded me of what I needed to do -- and that was to save my girls," she said.

According to KCEE24 News, the rescue took more than two hours, but Groves and both her children emerged alive.

Sage suffered a broken pelvis, while Mylo, now six months, sustained a cut on her head. Groves suffered a fractured pelvis and other orthopedic injuries.

"It’s still surreal to me that we’re sitting here and that was us in that car," Groves told "TODAY." "It was terror at first and then it fades to relief, huge amount of relief and gratitude. It’s hard to watch, but at the same time it really happened. [It was] not all of our times, all three of us. It’s just a miracle."

Groves and her two children were reunited with firefighter Nuckols and Sgt. Tom Mullen of the California Highway Patrol when the two heroes made a surprise appearance on "TODAY."

"I've yet to say thank you and that's just an understatement," Groves said moments before the two men came forward for the tearful reunion.