MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A couple driving home from church ended up trapped in their car under a tanker truck recently, and all of it was about to burst into flames on a Middletown highway when their prayers were answered by strangers.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, the family called the strangers angels at an emotional reunion Tuesday.
There were heartfelt hugs and tears for Nick Delury at the Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown as he met the daughter of the couple he helped rescue from their burning car on Route 17 in Goshen Sunday afternoon.
“When people told me they were alive, I was happy,” Delury said. “But at the same time, I just needed to see them physically. I needed to hug them. I needed to see them.”
Delury owns a boxing club in White Plains, and was on his way home from the Catskills when he saw the fiery wreck. He pulled over and climbed under the truck to pull Alejandro Rivera, 79, and his wife Carmen, 82, to safety.
“She had grabbed the door handle so tight that I said: ‘You have to let go of the door handle. I can’t get you out unless you let go of the door handle,’ because the window was broken, and I had to pry her fingers off the door handle and lift her out,” Delury said.
But her husband was still trapped, and time was running out when other motorist came to help.
“He was lodged in the front because everything was just collapsed in on him, and the only way to get him out was to pull him out of the back towards the backseat and get him out the back window, and these guys were kicking the window and kicking the window, and flames and smoke, were just — it was insane,” Delury said.
New York State Police confirmed that Rivera’s car got a flat tire and went out of control. Other Good Samaritans helped carry the couple away from the burning wreckage.
After firefighters arrived, Delury took video.
“That was unbelievable!” Delury said in the video after the rescue. “Oh my God!”
Seconds after the rescue, the car burst into flames while still lodged under the 18-wheeler.
“It’s like meeting our angels,” said the victims’ daughter, Catherine Bueno.
Bueno, the Riveras’ daughter, cried after meeting Delury and another man who helped at the scene.
“They risked their lives for my parents and we couldn’t thank them enough,” Bueno said.
Alejandro Rivera is set to be released from the hospital. His wife’s condition is stable and is expected to be OK – all thanks to the kindness and bravery of some selfless strangers.
The Rivera family has started a GoFundMe page to help cover medical bills, and for a handicapped-accessible bathroom at the couple’s home in Middletown.