A Latino Man Crashed Into A Freezing River In Iowa And Could Reach His Phone. That’s When He Called On Siri To Help
“Siri, call 911!” an Iowa teenager shouted as his Jeep started to sink in a freezing river. Gael Salcedo, 18, hit a patch of black ice while on his way to his college classes at North Iowa Area Community College. Given the option to collide with other drivers or to plummet into the freezing Winnebago river, Salcedo swerved toward the river. While Salcedo doesn’t remember what happened after that split-second decision, he does remember getting very, very clear once he was in the river. “I turned to the right and from there, everything just went blurry,” Salcedo told KIMT3 News. “I didn’t know where I was going and then I just didn’t know what to do,” he confessed to the outlet. We can’t even imagine what it would be like to go from a normal commute to being trapped in a sinking car in a freezing river. “I was just thinking in my head. I think I’m going to die,” Salcedo told the outlet. Then, adrenaline and action took over. Salcedo rolled down his windows, for fear that his Jeep would sink, and started searching for his phone to call 911. He couldn’t find it.
When Salcedo couldn’t find his phone, he resorted to the second-best option. “Hey Siri, call 911,” Salcedo asked. Siri aims to please and complied immediately. Shortly after he was on the line with local authorities, he found his phone.
Firefighters guided Salcedo on how to safely walk through the freezing river current to the river banks.
Salcedo told KIMT3 News, “I lost my phone and since I couldn’t find it, I was like ‘Hey Siri, call 911.’ And once Siri called, that’s when I found my phone finally.” So while Siri may have allowed the Mason City firefighters to respond more quickly, the firefighters and Salcedo did all the heavy lifting from thereon. Mason City Fire Department Lieutenant Craig Warner waded toward the nearly submerged Jeep and assessed the situation. The current was so strong that Salcedo couldn’t open the driver’s side door, so they waded to the passenger side, and were able to free the door. “[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,” Lt. Warner told Salcedo, according to KIMT3.
“My hands were freezing. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore, so I was struggling a lot and the water was just so strong, so I kept tripping,” Salcedo told the outlet, crediting Lt. Warner for helping him up “a bunch of times.” This was no walk in the park. Freezing water can cause muscles to become stiff and weak at the minimum and cause hypothermia at worst. “I used all my strength to get out of the water,” he said.
Salcedo was brought to the hospital and treated for shock.
Salcedo had been sitting in freezing water for enough time to warrant a hospital visit. Salcedo’s coordination and muscle stiffness was so bad, he had trouble walking even after he hit solid ground. With a first responder on each side, they were able to safely help Salcedo to the ambulance and help him get in. Salcedo was treated at MercyOne North Iowa hospital for shock. He was released just three hours later.
Salcedo originally hails from Weslaco, Texas, a place without any snow or ice. Today, he’s back to Twitter to shame President Trump for bullying 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. A few days before, he retweeted news that Brazil’s President Bolsonaro called Greta Thunberg a “brat” after she condemned rising violence against indigenous people living in the Amazon. You go, Gael Salcedo.
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Back in 2011, Cult of Mac reported the first suggestion that Siri may save your life one day. At the time Siri was in her infancy and the concept still seemed fantastical to consumers. “Sure, Siri can act silly and it can find the perfect retailer, but it has some very practical and important uses as well,” the outlet pondered. Nearly a decade later, Gael Salcedo seems to be the first reported person to have relied on Siri to make an emergency call and was saved because of it.
“Thanks to technology he will have a happy Christmas,” one person tweeted in Spanish. Meanwhile, some trolls continue to discredit the usefulness of the technology. One troll commented, “probably staged – making some incentives for advertising.” Others are sharing the story with a simple statement: “Siri saves lives.”
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