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Brothers plunge into freezing water to save stranger's life | People

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Brothers plunge into freezing water to save stranger's life
People
Brothers plunge into freezing water to save stranger's life

NEW TAMPA, Florida -- A New Tampa man is grateful to be alive after his car plunged into a cold pond on Sunday afternoon.

Had it not been for the selfless and swift actions of some good Samaritans, 74-year-old Shriram Kodali's story was just seconds away from having a tragic ending.

Photo Gallery: New Tampa lake rescue pictures

Anthony Swedberg, 18, and his older brother Andrew, 27, put their own lives at risk on Sunday, determined to save Kodali.

"He wasn't gonna die that day," said Anthony.

When the Swedbergs got to the entrance of their sister's New Tampa community, there was a car in the middle of a pond, and about a dozen people standing around looking at it.

At first they figured no one was inside the vehicle, but when they realized there was, the two didn't hesitate to jump into the cold water.

"They are very, very good guys," said Kodali, who is beyond grateful to the two brothers who came to his rescue.

Kodali was disoriented, helpless and as the car sank, he couldn't help but think to himself, "I'm going to die, actually. The water came up to my neck."

Andrew slammed his elbow against the car door trying to pry it open. It was the same elbow, says Anthony, that Andrew had hurt in a skateboarding accident years before. That elbow has a metal plate in it.

Anthony, whose hand is still covered with cuts, broke out the back window with a car jack that his father swam out to give him.

"They jumped in that cold water on a cold day and they probably saved that man's life," says Tampa Police spokesperson Andrea Davis.

Investigators say Kodali lost control of his car, got stuck in the grass and in the process of trying to free the vehicle, plowed it into the pond.

Within seconds of pulling him out, the car went under.

"They gave my father life," says Kodali's daughter Vanisri. "It's because of these people we are with my father."

Andrew and Anthony were treated for cuts and bruises. Kodali was in shock, but unharmed.

The incident, an act of heroic kindness, just days before Christmas, giving the gift of life to a total stranger.

"I say many many thanks to them, and I wish that God bless them," said Kodali.

The Tampa Police department plans to recognize the Swedbergs for their good deed next month by presenting them with the Citizens Appreciation Award.

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