MASON CITY, Iowa (CBS Local) — “Hey Siri, call 911.” That’s what a driver yelled after his car plunged into an icy Iowa river on Tuesday.
Gael Salcedo, 18, of Charles City, Iowa was on his way to classes at North Iowa Area Community College when his Jeep hit a patch of ice on the road and plunged into the Winnebago River, southeast of Mason City.
“I turned to the right and from there, everything just went blurry,” he told CBS affiliate KIMT. “I didn’t know where I was going and then I just didn’t know what to do. I was just thinking in my head ‘I think I’m going to die.”
Once he realized he was in the river, Salcedo said the current pinned the driver’s side door shut and he couldn’t get out. He needed help fast.
“I lost my phone and since I couldn’t find it, I was like ‘Hey Siri, call 911,” he said. “And once Siri called, that’s when I found my phone finally.”
Man rescued from Winnebago River speaks: 'I was just thinking in my head, I think I'm going to die' https://t.co/PUZ3lY0b4a
— KIMT News 3 (@KIMTNews3) December 11, 2019
First responders from the Mason City Fire Department arrived at the scene quickly.
“[I] basically explained to him that there’s no other way. You’re going to have to walk out. I’ll be right there with you holding on every step of the way,” said Lieutenant Craig Warner with the Mason City Fire Department.
“My hands were freezing. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore, so I was struggling a lot and the water was just so strong,” Salcedo told KIMT. “I kept tripping, and I had the guy help me up a bunch of times and I used all my strength to get out of the water.”
With Warner’s help, Salcedo made it out of the river and into the ambulance. He was taken to to MercyOne North Iowa, where he was treated for shock and released a few hours later.
“I want to thank everyone that was there,” Salcedo said. “Especially that guy that risked his life and went into the river to save my life and I just want to thank him a lot for doing that.”