Hillsborough County deputies and emergency dispatchers are new year's first heroes after saving a woman from nearly drowning in a muddy ditch in the early morning.
The desperate rescue began when the woman's car flipped into the water as she drove near Tampa's Florida State Fairgrounds shortly before 4 a.m., the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies managed to pull 20-year-old Amanda Nicole Antonio from her upside down car, which rolled over into the frigid, waist-high and muddy water in a ditch covered in fog near the Florida State Fairgrounds.
“Today is one of those days where everything went right,” sheriff’s spokesman Danny Alvarez said at an early morning news conference after the rescue.
Antonio found a pocket of air inside the car, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and called 911.
“The (dispatch) center could hear the desperation in her voice,” Alvarez said. The cold waters rose from her waist to her neck.
After the dive team rescued Antonio from the car, she was able to walk away unharmed.
Her parents say they know she is lucky to be alive, and they are very grateful to the 911 operator, deputies, and the dive team.
"They are angels. Thank you so much. Hopefully, we get to meet them," said Julio Perez, Antonio's stepdad.