It happened just after 10 p.m. in Patchogue Bay near South Ocean Avenue in Patchogue.
Police say Mia Samolinski was driving a Subaru Outback in the parking lot when she pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake and threw herself into the water.
A Good Samaritan, Anthony Zhongor, witnessed the incident and dove into the water.
“She went pretty far in there,” Zhongor said. “She was knocking on the door, banging on the window, trying to break the window, of course, and it made me nervous, I was scared for her, so I just took my clothes off and went in. the water.”
He swam to the car, but with no time to waste, they had to find a way to get Samolinski out of the vehicle.
“The dive was pretty deep because it was right there, as soon as I looked up I grabbed the doorknob,” he said.
They both tried to unlock and open the door, but with no success, he said he had to find another way.
It was then that he realized he could use his own weight.
“My weight pushed the nose of the car deeper into the water which helped the rear end to come free,” he said. “And and we opened the back, and she was able to escape out the back.”
They swam together to shore.
“She just came up to me and said, ‘Oh my God, thank you,’ and she was crying,” he said. “No matter who it was, they were in pain. I couldn’t watch anyone suffer in front of me.”
Samolinski’s father, Charles, met with Samolinski on Wednesday.
“He jumped out of his car and jumped in, and because of that my daughter is alive and not really hurt,” he said. “It’s a miracle.”
Samolinski and Zhongor, both of Patchogue, were uninjured. It turned out that they both attended Patchogue Medford High School, but had no idea they were classmates.
The car was pulled from the bay by a heavy tow truck.
Zhongor, who graduates next week, recently joined the Marines and will attend boot camp in South Carolina in September.
READ ALSO | Experts recommend swimming lessons and water safety to prevent child drownings
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