A dramatic rescue operation took place in the early hours of New Year’s Day near Tampa, Florida when a woman was saved just moments before drowning in her overturned car.
Just before 4 a.m. on January 1, 20-year-old Amanda Antonio was driving eastbound on Interstate 4 just outside of Tampa. At one point, another driver cut her off and she lost control of the car, which drove off the highway and flipped several times before landing on its roof in a deep ditch filled with water.
The driver suddenly found herself in an overturned car that was quickly sinking into the mud, with cold water rising up to her chest. To make matters worse, she wasn’t able to kick open the doors to get out.
Even calling 911 was a challenge: she first had to use her Apple Watch to ping her iPhone that was underwater. After that, she was able to place the call, and a dispatcher helped walk her through the situation. Needless to say, she asked for help fast.
“I panicked for a second and then I’m like ‘OK, so what do I do’ because obviously, this isn’t going to help me,” Antonio told Fox News on Thursday.
We get an idea of what she and the rescuers went through from the 20-minute call to 911 released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. In the recording, Antonio can be heard gasping for air as the car got filled with mud and water.
As the water quickly rose from her chest up to her neck, Antonio said she was freezing. “I’m so scared. Please tell them to come faster. Please help me. My phone’s dying, it’s at 5 percent,” she can be heard saying.
Fortunately, deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were able to find her just in time after seeing the sinking car through the thick fog. The operation ended when the police officers took Antonio out of the car through the passenger side door, as the driver’s door was blocked. The young woman said she would forever remain grateful to her saviors.