MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida 9-year-old received a big surprise when she returned to school Monday following a horrific accident.
Three weeks ago, Vida Azcarraga was nearly killed when the charter van she was traveling in crashed.
"I remember I was stuck there trying to get out and it was so scary, and I thought I was going to die there in that moment," Vida said.
The rollover crash happened at Southwest 142nd Avenue and 56th Street.
Vida was trapped inside the van and emergency workers had to use the Jaws of Life to get her out.
"When they were grabbing me out, I said, 'Thank you,'" Vida said.
Vida and two other children were rushed to Kendall Regional Hospital.
As she recovered, Vida formed a special bond with the Miami-Dade police officers and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue workers who helped save her.
"They came to see me every single day and they never left my side and I remember that," Vida said.
It all led up to Monday, which was Vida's first day back at school following the accident.
Several of the first responders joined Vida at school, snapping photos with her and her classmates.
"There's not enough thanks that I could give that could repay them for what they did for my daughter," said Esther Azcarraga, Vida's mother.
Despite her youth, Vida is brought to tears when thinking about what these special people mean to her.
"I wouldn't be here," she said. "I couldn't be more thankful than I am that they were by my side and never left me."
The recovery process continues for Vida. She had another surgery on Monday and is doing well.