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Sole survivor of Orlando canal crash speaks

19-year-old Judelende Charles says she was scared rescue crews wouldn't find her

ORLANDO, Fla. – Nineteen-year-old Judelende Charles was the only person to walk away from the accident.

"I heard my ex-boyfriend say, 'Oh my gosh,' and I say, 'What?' 'We're going into the lake,'" Charles said recalling the conversation moments before the crash.

The car drove off the road, flipped, and then landed upside down in the canal at Oakridge Road and Brookgreen Avenue Monday morning.

"I saw a car in front of me just go over the bridge and into the water," one of the 911 calls said.

Three people were inside, including Charles, the driver 24-year-old Emmanius Casmir, and Charles' ex-boyfriend 41-year-old Joanel Ostreal. Charles says she was getting a ride to school that morning.

Charles tells News 6 she was scared rescue crews would not find her. She says she could not see anything and the water was pouring into the car. She describes holding her cellphone above her head so she could call 911 for help.

"I can't breathe. I'm in the back," Charles said in the 911 phone call.

Moments later her rescuers came. A sheriff's deputy who was a minute away responded to the scene first, followed by three firefighters.

"I hear somebody outside say 'Are you there?' I said, 'Yes,'" Charles said.

Charles is still shaken up and in shock days after the crash. She's thanking the people who jumped in the canal and rescued her.

"Thank you for saving my life," she said.

Charles says she is not sure why the car went off the road and says she does not think the driver fell asleep.
 


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