Surveillance video captured the dramatic rescue of a Long Island woman after she accidentally drove her car into Patchogue Bay. Anthony Zhongor, 17, dove into the bay's chilly waters shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday to pull Mia Samolinski from her SUV.
The 18-year-old Patchogue resident had accidentally pressed the gas pedal instead of the brakes inside her Subaru Outback, the Suffolk County Police Department said in a news release.
"I just hear a huge splash and everyone running toward the dock," Zhongor told. The teen, a Patchogue resident who expects to graduate from high school next week before joining the U.S. Marine Corps, said he and a group of onlookers could hear the young woman struggling to exit the car as it began to sink.
"That's what really made me jump in the water, because she was banging on door trying to break it, kind of got scared. So I just jumped in," Zhongor said. "Dying while suffocating is one of my worst fears, so I couldn't imagine anyone going through that right in front of me. I feel like anyone would make that decision."
Zhongor entered the SUV through one of its back doors before pulling Samolinski from the vehicle, CBS New York reported. Her father, Charlie Samolinski, praised Zhongor for saving his daughter's life.
"The real hero of the day is Anthony, without a doubt. There were a group of people on the dock. They were filming it. He did something about it," he said.
"She's here today because of him," Samolinski said. "A car can be replaced. Things can be replaced. My daughter? Irreplaceable."
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