A teenager followed a young woman into the ocean after she had unintentionally driven into it and saved her.
When driving her Subaru Outback out of a parking space near the Long Island docks in Patchogue Bay, 18-year-old Mia Samolinski used the accelerator instead of the brake.
Although none of them knew it at the time, Anthony Zhongor, a 17-year-old classmate of Samolinski’s, stepped out of his car and plunged in after her as a crowd gathered behind him.
“She went pretty deep in there,” Zhongor said. “She was banging on the door, banging on the window, trying to break the window, of course, and that kind of got me nervous, scared for her, so I just took my clothes off and went into the water.”
Any driver must be aware that if the latching mechanisms on a car door or seatbelt are submerged in water, neither will open. The seatbelt, fortunately, didn’t cause any problems for Mia. But unfortunately, the door was.
The door wouldn’t open from the outside either, but Zhongor noted that Samolinski was able to exit through the rear because the weight of his body leaned the car’s nose down and raised the back of the vehicle above the water. Then they swam to shore together.
“She just came up to me and said, ‘Oh my God, thank you’ and was crying,” he stated. “It doesn’t matter who it was, they were suffering. I couldn’t watch anybody suffer in front of me.”
Zhongor, who is expected to graduate this year, will be attending Marines boot camp in South Carolina thanks to the generosity of the Samolinskis, who expressed their appreciation for Zhongor’s bravery to ABC-7 news.
“He jumped out of his car and jumped in, and because of that, my daughter is alive and not really harmed,” said Charles, Mia’s father. “It’s a miracle.”