Saved from a Sinking Car
Hunter Haire, 19, and five friends, all home from college last January, piled into Haire’s SUV around 10 p.m., headed for a party near their former Lake Mary, Florida, high school. Though they’d driven the streets often, the group couldn’t find the house, and Haire’s iPhone GPS wasn’t working.
Frustrated, he pulled into a parking spot facing a small lake to see if his SUV’s GPS could help. Before Haire could enter the address of their destination, Haire’s friend Zac Sawin, 19, glanced up from the backseat and saw a pair of lights glowing eerily from the water about 50 yards from shore. “There’s a car in the water!” he cried.
In the darkness, the boys could barely make out the silhouette of the driver through the window. “We thought, We’ve got to get this guy out of there now, or he’s going to die,” says Haire.
He and Sawin, both athletes, dashed into the frigid water and swam hard to the sinking Mazda. Inside, Miguel Hernandez, 23, was clutching the steering wheel and staring straight ahead in shock.
Haire reached the car first and convinced Hernandez to roll down the passenger-side window. Haire climbed inside and wrestled with Hernandez’s seat belt. Then water began pouring into the car, causing it to slip toward the bottom of the 15-foot-deep lake.
Haire crawled out the open window, and then he and Sawin yanked Hernandez out of the car and pulled him back to the shore as the sedan sank completely into the blackness below.
“The series of events that led us there were the craziest coincidences ever,” says Haire. “We left my friend’s house at a certain time, didn’t have to stop at any red lights, got lost.” Sawin agrees: “If we had showed up 30 seconds later, he probably would have been dead.”
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