Girl, 18, drowns saving three children from churning water

A Minnesota girl, 18, drowned after saving the lives of three children from turbulent water.

Raina Lynn Neeland, 18, from Bagley, died a hero after saving her three little cousins, aged 10, 8, and 6, who had gotten caught in the churning water. The incident took place last year, as Raina, three of her siblings, and five of her cousins were having a swim in Clearwater Lake, Newsner reveals.

Credits: GoFundMe

As reported by FOX 13, the Sheriff’s Office said water from Clearwater Lake flows over the 14-foot-high dam into a river with the same name. The kids were going over the off-limits dam and into the river but became trapped in the treacherous water.

Following the tragic accident, Raina’s aunt, Victoria Wind, commented:

“From our understanding, when they went into the water the current was so strong, it could look calm on the top. The water levels were higher than they were previously and the kids jumped in, thinking nothing was any different … the kids were in the water, tumbling in the water.”

Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson told the Star Tribune:

“We probably would have had multiple fatalities. The water is just churning under the dam. She did her part and saved who she could.”

Lenny Neeland, Raina’s grandmother, said she immediately “jumped” to help the children. 

Ms. Neeland explained:

“She jumped in and must have thrown them where her brother could grab them and pull them to shore. She got them close enough where he could get them out.”

Despite the efforts of bystanders and paramedics who arrived at the scene, Raina tragically lost her life that day. Her grandma continued:

“She always wanted to help people and protect people, and that’s exactly what she did. I thank God for Raina, that she saved my other grandkids, because this could have been worse than it is now.”

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