A Long Island teen is being hailed a hero for diving in to save a woman who accidentally drove into Patchogue Bay. Mia Samolinski, 18, stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake when pulling her Subaru Outback out of a parking spot along the docks of Long Island’s Patchogue Bay. Anthony Zhongor, 17, immediately dove into the water as her car sank.
Zhongor said “She went pretty deep in there and 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 went into the water.” The door wouldn’t open from the outside either. Zhongor realized that the weight of his body tilted the nose of the car down, bringing the back of the car above water level so he kept his weight on the car, allowing Samolinski to escape through the back.
Together they swam to shore. “She just came up to me and said, ‘Oh my God, thank you’ and was crying,” Zhongor said. “It doesn’t matter who it was, they were suffering. I couldn’t watch anybody suffer in front of me.” Mia managed to make it out unscathed but was shaken up by the experience and is thankful was there at that moment.
Mia’s father Charles Samolinski visited the dock where it happened to reunite with and thank 17-year-old Anthony Zhongor for saving his daughter’s life. “The reason I’m here is because he’s really the hero of the day” Mia said. The Samolinskis expressed their their gratitude for Zhongor’s bravery. “He jumped out of his car and jumped in, and because of that, my daughter is alive and not really harmed,” said Mia’s father Charles. “It’s a miracle.”
The pair who went to the same high school live less than a mile away but never crossed paths until that night. Zhongor is set to graduate this year and will be heading off to South Carolina for Marines boot camp. Staff Sgt. Christian Erazo with the U.S. Marine Corps said “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.”