18-year-old Gael Salcedo was going to North Iowa Area Community College when his Jeep hit a patch of ice on the road, KIMT reports. After that moment, Salcedo lost control of the car and plunged down the Winnebago River.
He said to KIMT, an affiliate of CNN, "I turned to the right and from there, everything just went blurry. 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.'"
After falling into the icy river, he rolled the windows down since he was worried that his car would sink.
He wanted to reach out for help but couldn't find his phone, then he had a bright idea which saved his life.
Mason City Fire Department arrived at the scene quickly, but the driver's side door was impossible to open.
Salcedo told KIMT, "My hands were freezing. I couldn't feel my legs anymore, so I was struggling a lot and the water was just so strong. 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 the help of Craig Warner, who's the lieutenant in the Mason City Fire Department, Salcedo made it out of the river.
Lt. Craig Warner said, "[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."
After the rescue operation, he went to the hospital to be treated for shock.