A hero, 18-year-old Raina L. Neeland died Monday while helping save children who were struggling in the turbulent water near an overflowing dam in northwest Minnesota.
Neeland, of rural Bagley, was identified approximately 24 hours after her courageous act at the Clearwater Dam on Clearwater Lake, with the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office reporting that the incident happened around 3:45 p.m. Monday.
Witnesses told law enforcement that children were swimming in the water near the dam "when some of them were caught up in the turbulent water that was coming over the dam and could not free themselves."
Neelend, according to witness accounts, helped pull some of the younger children to safety before she went under and didn't resurface. Authorities estimated she was under water for approximately 10 minutes before her body was recovered.
Lifesaving efforts were attempted but Neeland did not survive.
A GoFundMe for Neelend's family describes the 18-year-old as someone who "loved cooking with her grandma" and a young lady who "loved helping take care of her siblings and cousins."
The online fundraiser, which as of Monday evening had raised just shy of $800, noted that Neelend "drowned saving her younger cousins."
The Clearwater County Sheriff's Office says that the water level at the dam was "considerably higher" due to recent heavy rains.