Teen bravely jumps into action to save woman after her car veered from parking and into the water

A 17-year-old is being recognized for saving a driver’s life after her car drove into a bay on Long Island, New York.

The moment was captured on surveillance cameras when a Subaru Outback driven and driven by Mia Samolinski (18), plunged into Patchogue Bay.

Anthony Zhongor was listening on the dock to music as Mia pulled in at just past 10 p.m. Instead of pressing the brakes, Mia stepped on the gas pedal and she began to accelerate. Before she could react, she was already in the water.

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“I heard a huge splash and saw everyone running toward the dock. I don’t know what happened,” Anthony said.

Anthony realized what had happened and jumped out of his vehicle into the freezing bay. Mia was able to escape her sinking vehicle, while Anthony and other bystanders watched.

“She was banging on the door, banging on the window, trying to break the window of course,” Anthony said of the horrifying moment.

Mia Samolinski driving her SUV into Patchogue Bay
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“And then that kind of got me nervous, scared for her. I took off my clothes and went into the water. The dive was pretty, pretty far, so it was just right there as soon as I looked up, grab the door handle.”

They tried opening the door, but they were unsuccessful. Anthony used the weight of his body to push the nose of their car deeper into the water. Mia was able get out through her back.

“She just came up and said, ‘Oh, my God, thank you’ and was crying, that’s all,” Anthony said.

They returned together to the platform.

Mia Samolinski's SUV plunging into Patchogue Bay
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The driver and her rescuer were both uninjured, but the driver was clearly shaken and needed to rest throughout the day.

“The idea of dying never crossed my mind,” said Anthony of his heroic efforts. “I was supposed to be at the beach yesterday but I was here.”

The Suffolk County Police Department issued a statement about the accident.

“Mia Samolinski was driving a Subaru Outback in a parking lot off South Ocean Avenue, adjacent to Patchogue Bay, when she stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake and drove into the water at approximately 10:10 p.m.”

Mia's father Charles Samolinski hugging her rescuer Anthony Zhongor
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Mia’s father, Charles Samolinski, visited the dock where it happened to thank Anthony Zhongor for rescuing his daughter.

“Thank God somebody was here and wasn’t staring into their phone and did what needed to be done,” he told WNBC. “If he wasn’t there, who knows where we’d be standing here right now.”

Later, a heavy-duty wrecker removed the car from the bay.

“Dying, being stuck is one of my worst fears, so I couldn’t imagine someone going through that right in front of me,” Anthony said.

Anthony and Mia both attended the same high school, and they live less than one mile apart. They had never met before this incident.

Anthony Zhongor speaking with a member of the U.S. Marine Corps
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Anthony didn’t initially think much of his life-saving stunt. In fact, he said he went to McDonald’s afterward and didn’t tell his family until it was featured on the local news.

The U.S. Marine Corps has recruited the teen to begin boot camp training in September.

“It shows that our training and mentorship has gone to the right place and I’m happy he acted because it could’ve ended somewhere very differently,” Staff Sgt. Christian Erazo, U.S. Marine Corps.

Charles stated that the family plans on reuniting with Anthony off-camera as a way to thank him for his kindness.

“A car can be replaced, my daughter… irreplaceable,” he said.

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