Minnesota Teen Drowns Saving Seven Members of Her Family

They were using a dam as a water slide, but got trapped at the bottom.

A Minnesota teenager has died saving seven members of her family.

18-year-old Raina Lynn Neeland was playing with her younger siblings and cousins at a dam on Clearwater Lake on Monday when they got into difficulty.

They were using the 14-foot dam as a water slide, but could not free themselves from the turbulent waters below.

Witnesses claim the teen pulled the younger children to safety before she went under the surface herself; she was in the water for ten minutes.

By the time the first deputy arrived on the scene, bystanders had pulled Raina and another 8-year-old girl from the water, both unresponsive.

They were attempting CPR on both, and managed to resuscitate the child.

An air ambulance quickly arrived, but they were unable to save Raina.

According to Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office, the water level at the dam was considerably higher due to the large amount of recent rainfall.

“They use it as a big waterslide,” Sheriff Darin Halverson said, per Star Tribune. “Kids like to do that… They use tubes or whatever. Lots of times they go over on their own.”

He said that if Raina hadn’t saved her family members — the youngest of which was just six — “We probably would have had multiple fatalities.”

“The water is just churning under the dam… She did her part and saved who she could.”

Raina’s heartbroken uncle agreed: “We could have been burying five of them out of the eight.”

He told the publication the group had been swimming at the spot at least three other times this summer, but “8 inches of rain turned the river into a rapids…. They didn’t realize where the undertow was, and them little kids went under.”

A GoFundMe to raise money for the family of the heroic teen has raised $6,000 so far.

[via TooFab]

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