How woman drowning in rising, muddy water was saved in 'desperate' search amid dense fog

PHOTO: A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019.PlayHillsborough County Sheriff's Office
WATCH Fog hampers rescuers' efforts to save drowning woman in Florida

A woman drowning in thick, muddy water that was rising up to her neck was rescued just in time by Florida deputies who raced through thick fog to find her just hours into the new year.

The desperate rescue began when the woman's car flipped into water as she drove near Tampa's Florida State Fairgrounds shortly before 4 a.m., the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

"All my muscles still hurt. I'm just thankful I didn't break anything, that I'm still here," Amanda Antonio told ABC affiliate WFTS in an interview at her home after the rescue.

"All I remember is losing control of my car and flipping. And I just kept flipping until I stopped and I realized I was upside down. So I took my seatbelt off. I was upside down so the water was coming in where my head was," she said.

She used her Apple Watch to ping her phone, which she said had a mere 4 percent charge left in its battery before she called 911 at 3:48 a.m., after she veered to avoid another car which she said ran her off the road. The phone was initially wet, and she tried several times before it worked.

PHOTO: A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019. Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office
A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019.
PHOTO: A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019. Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office
A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019.

Antonio told WFTS she used Apple Maps to find her location for the dispatcher.

Thirteen patrol units raced to the area, searching through the thick fog that had blanketed the region, authorities said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Some 15 minutes later, authorities found Antonio, and "after fighting the mud she was encased in, they were finally able to rescue her," the sheriff's office said in a press release.

She said she thought she had about 30 seconds left before she would have been completely submerged.

PHOTO: A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019. Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office
A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019.
PHOTO: A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019. Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office
A woman was rescued from water in Hillsborough County, Florida, Jan. 1, 2019.

She is home in good condition, the sheriff's office said, calling her "extremely fortunate."

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Daniel Alvarez told reporters it was a "great scenario where everything just came together the right way."

"We fought the mud, we fought the weather, we fought the lack of knowing where she was, and today she came out alive because of a really good team effort."