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Heroic Teenager Dies After Saving Her Family

Raina Lynn Neeland was only 18
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2020 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – A heroic Minnesota teenager is dead after saving her relatives from perilous river waters, the Star-Tribune reports. Raina Lynn Neeland, 18, pulled out the youngsters—including one who was only 6—from Clearwater Lake before losing her life. "Raina jumped in without hesitation and pulled three little ones out and kind of threw them out to the bank," her uncle Jeremy Neeland told KSTP. "She's one of a kind." Witnesses say Raina was stuck in the water near a dam for roughly 10 minutes before getting pulled out. Medics and bystanders tried to revive her, but failed. "It's a tragic event as it is, but it would have been much worse without her actions," said Sheriff Darin Halverson.

People have swum at the northwestern Minnesota lake for decades and even use the dam as a waterslide, though heavy rain can raise the water level and make "the bottom side of the dam ... very turbulent," said Halverson. Rain had indeed been heavy before Raina went out Monday with seven siblings and cousins. Jeremy said there were other heroes—like Raina's brother, who dragged out his 240-pound cousin, and a "mystery woman" who revived 8-year-old Jada Neeland—but it's Raina who lost her life. CNN reports that a GoFundMe page in her name has already raised over $25,000. "Raina loved cooking with her grandma also she loved helping take care of her siblings," says the campaign. "We are all hurting from this loss." (Read more drowning stories.)

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