Gael Salcedo, 18, was heading to North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, over 122 miles north of Des Moines, for class at around 7:30 a.m. when his Jeep hit a patch of ice on the road, sending his vehicle into the Winnebago River, KIMT reported.
"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,'" he told the station.
Salcedo’s situation became more dire after he struggled to find his phone.
"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."
Mason City Firefighters responded to the scene but had to help Salcedo out through the passenger side as the strong river flow forced the driver’s side shut.
Rescuers waded through the water with Salcedo, who struggled through the freezing temps.
"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 and I had the guy help me up a bunch of times and I used all my strength to get out of the water," he told KIMT.
He was transported to an area hospital where he was treated for shock before being released several hours later.
The temperature in Mason City at the time of the accident dropped to 5 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a National Weather Service report.