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Woman Used iPhone to Save Herself While Car Was Sinking

Apple Watch, Google Maps also played roles
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2019 5:47 PM CST
Stock image.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Early on New Year’s Day, Amanda Antonio found herself in a desperate situation after careening off Interstate 4 in Tampa, Fla., when she was cut off by another vehicle. The 20-year-old was trapped in her upside-down car as it sank into cold, muddy water. "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," she told FOX & Friends on Thursday as she sat with the men from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office who rescued her. Antonio used her Apple watch to ping and locate her iPhone, which was underwater. At first, the phone didn’t work. But after rubbing it on the seat of the car, she was able to get a call through to 911. "There's water getting the car and I can't get out. I'm freezing," she told the 911 operator, adding that the water was up to her chest. Soon, it was up to her neck.

Meanwhile, per the Tampa Bay Times, a sheriff’s helicopter and 13 vehicles were searching both sides of the interstate, looking for Antonio’s sinking Scion. "I’m so scared. Please tell them to come faster," she told the 911 operator. "Please help me. My phone’s dying, it’s at 5%." Antonio used Google Maps to pinpoint her location near the Florida State Fairgrounds. She told the dispatcher that soon she’d have to hold her breath. Just in time, Deputy Ryan Cooper found the vehicle. Two officers from the sheriff’s dive team arrived and pried the car door open, freeing Antonio. "I just want to thank all of you guys for helping me that night," Antonio told her rescuers during the FOX & Friends appearance. But they gave the credit to her: "Amanda absolutely saved her own life that night," Deputy Chris Sullivan said. (iPhone has lost some of its luster.)

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