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'Divine intervention': Woman rescued from icy water by linemen who spotted overturned car

Her car hit a slick spot, went off the road, and flipped — landing in 4 feet of water.
Lake Country Power linemen Matt Bade, Tyler McClellan (top, left to right), Tim Rasmusson and Cody Vredenberg (bottom, left to right). 

Lake Country Power linemen Matt Bade, Tyler McClellan (top, left to right), Tim Rasmusson and Cody Vredenberg (bottom, left to right). 

By the time Demitria Hartl came to, the car was beginning to fill with freezing water.

She was upside down, her Camry havng flipped after it hit a slick spot and rolled into a ditch on a highway east of Hibbing the afternoon of Nov. 11, the 23-year-old mother wrote in a Facebook post

"I was on the phone with 911 but I didn’t know where I was," she wrote. "I was 15 minutes from the nearest town with an ambulance. It dawned on me that my car would fill before then and I couldn’t get my doors or windows open."

Hartl began to accept the grim reality: She was trapped.

What she hadn't counted on was the kindness of four passing strangers, who saw the overturned car and waded into the frigid water to rescue her.

The efforts that day of Lake Country Power linemen Matt Bade, Tyler McClellan, Tim Rasmusson and Cody Vredenberg are being lauded, their quick thinking almost certainly having saved Hartl's life.

"If my accident had happened 30 seconds later, that truck of angels would have already passed and I probably would have drowned," Hartl wrote. "Those men saved my life and I am forever grateful to them." 

The four were heading back from a lunch break around 1:30 p.m. when they spotted the overturned car in water off Highway 37 near St. Louis County Road 25. The workers pulled over, got out and hopped into the waist-deep water to see if anyone was inside, Lake Country Power spokesperson Tami Zaun said. 

When they saw the trapped Hartl, they went into "rescue mode.”

While one of the lineman called 911, another grabbed the winch hook from the bucket truck to break open the driver's side window. Then, using their own collective strength, they lifted the Camry on to its side — allowing Hartl to be pulled out of the shattered window opening, Zaun said.

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The men then stayed with her until an ambulance came. She was taken to Hibbing Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the Minnesota State Patrol said.

Hartl, from Mandan, North Dakota, called it "divine intervention."

"I’m thankful for the men who saved me, and I’m thankful I am here watching my family play and giggle," wrote Hartl.

The State Patrol said the road at the time of the crash was snowy and icy, writing the car "hit slush and spun," with the vehicle rolling into a ditch and landing on its roof in "deep water."

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