MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Two young women, Haley Morris and Kate Henry, accidentally drove their car off the Wacca Wache Marina into the Waccamaw River Wednesday after midnight.
They were driving home from the gym, but their usual route was blocked off, so they decided to take a different road.
They said it was dark and foggy and nearly impossible to see very far ahead, and the next thing they knew, the car slammed into the river in front of them.
DJ Nance was fishing on a dock nearby and witnessed the accident. When he detected no movement from the water below, he immediately dove in and swam towards the sinking car.
"You have to react. You don't want anything like that to happen on your watch. I was here for a reason," said Nance.
Morris and Henry claim they were unable to open the car themselves, so it was Nance who opened the door and first pulled Morris, who was in the driver's seat, to the surface.
"Whenever he grabbed a hold of me, I just looked at Kate and she was saying, 'please don't leave me, please, please don't leave me' and I said, 'I'm not, I'm not, he's going to get you out too I promise," said Morris.
Nance then dove back under and freed Henry as well.
Once free from the vehicle, Nance dragged the women through the water towards a nearby dock where they finally rested on solid ground.
"He was laying on the dock, and Haley and I were kind of like patting him and saying 'you saved us, you saved us'," said Henry.
Both Morris and Henry said they will forever be grateful for their personal hero, and will continue to think of ways to show their thanks.
"Without him we wouldn't be here. He really did save our lives," said Henry.
"Even though it was very scary, I'm very thankful. I don't want to look at the negative, I look at it as a way for us to restart our life and live life to the fullest and we're just one big family now," said Morris.
Nance told the women he was either going to get them out of the water safely or die trying.