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Hero Teen Rescues Two Girls After Car Crashes Into Lake Mahopac

A photo taken by hero teen Cullen Malzo after a car with two 17-year-old female passengers went flying into Lake Mahopac after the driver lost control of the vehicle.
A photo taken by hero teen Cullen Malzo after a car with two 17-year-old female passengers went flying into Lake Mahopac after the driver lost control of the vehicle. Photo Credit: Cullen Malzo
Hero teen Cullen Malzo
Hero teen Cullen Malzo Photo Credit: Contributed

MAHOPAC, N.Y. -- Cullen Malzo of Mahopac didn't think twice about jumping into the cold, murky waters of Lake Mahopac late Thursday afternoon after witnessing a car accident that sent a vehicle flying, upside down into the lake.

"I was standing in my driveway when I heard this incredible boom and saw the car upside down in the lake," said the 19-year-old college student.

Before stripping off his shoes and throwing down his phone to run for the car, the quick-thinking teen first called 911.

"I was so nervous and filled with adrenaline that at first I pulled up my calculator," he said with a laugh. "I just screamed my address to the 911 operator and told them there was a car in the lake before I went running to help."

When he reached the water, he found that it was full of thick mud that made it difficult to walk, much less reach the car. Slowly, he was able to make his way to the car, but once underwater he could barely see anything.

"I called to another person who stopped to find a rock to break the window with," he said the morning after the accident. "They found a rock and I went back under but when I reached the car I realized the passenger side window had a hole in it."

Saying he could hear two girls screaming the entire time, he reached into the hole and found a hand which he just grabbed and pulled on.

"The first girl came out easily and after I got her to the other side of the car I went back underwater to try and find the second person who I couldn't see," he said.

After what seemed an eternity, Cullen said he finally felt a foot and began yanking on it until the girl finally came out of the hole in the window, Cullen said.

The two 17-year-old girls were roughed up a little, but not badly injured, he added.

"They and their families were just so thankful that I had pulled them out of the car," Malzo said.

A  former Lakeland High soccer player who currently attends Westchester Community College, Malzo said he will heading to Montana State University in January.

"I know I would want someone to do the same thing for me if I was in that situation," Malzo added. "I didn't even think about any danger, I just reacted."

He said the adrenaline didn't wear off for a couple of hours.

"It's the strangest feeling," he said. "I'm just glad I was able to save them."

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