WEST PALM BEACH (CBS4) – A group of men are being called heroes for saving the life of a Broward County teenager.
The teen lost control of her car and landed in a canal along I-95 in West Palm Beach Sunday morning. As her car filled with water, the men sprang into action.
Jasmin Gonzalez, 17, said she lost control of the car after hitting a lane marker near Forest Hill Boulevard. The vehicle flipped over several times and landed on it’s roof in a canal.
“I was trapped and I couldn’t see anything so I thought I was going to die,” Gonzalez said. “I saw the water start coming up slowly and I was trying to get my last breath.”
Gonzalez said she started praying. Her prayers would soon be answered.
Erik Hadad witnessed the accident and pulled his car to the shoulder of I-95. He was one of 6 men to jump in the dirty, murky water to help Gonzalez. He could hear her yelling for help.
“She’s just crying and screaming, ‘I’m dying, I’m dying,'” Hadad told CBS4’s Carey Codd.
Hadad said the men did not know how many people were in the car as it sat nearly fully covered by canal water.
“We knew it was only a matter of seconds that all the car was going to be 100 percent (filled) with water,” Hadad said.
The men managed to flip the car on it’s side. Another driver gave the men a trailer hitch to bust open a window and the men pulled Gonzalez to safety.
“The next thing I knew I saw all these men by the window trying to get me out,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez suffered only minor cuts and scrapes. She said the men who rescued her deserve praise and recognition.
“They’re heroes, they’re true heroes,” she said. “I’m so happy they saved my life. I’m so thankful. I’ll forever be thankful, completely thankful to them.”
Erik Hadad said he’s not a hero. He’s a just a person who saw someone in need and reacted.
“In that situation you don’t think about nothing,” he said. “You’re just jumping and do whatever you need to do to save (a) life.”
Hadad said Gonzalez’s parents called to thank him for helping to save their daughter.
He said they told him, “They need to celebrate the new birthday for her. It’s like she’s born on that date (of the rescue.)”
A spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol said the rescuers will be honored in the coming weeks for their lifesaving actions.