WALKER -- Laura Nelson had a lot to be thankful for Thursday.
While driving to work at the May Creek Lodge in Walker, the 61-year-old Akeley resident lost control of her vehicle while driving on a gravel road. The vehicle flipped over upside down into icy May Lake.
Unable to get her seat belt undone, Nelson was trapped in her car for what she figured was about two minutes.
Fortunately, five snowmobilers who were driving behind her and witnessed the accident were able to rescue her from the icy water.
"We have a lot to be thankful for yesterday," Nelson's husband John said in an interview today. "If it wasn't for them young people, she wouldn't be here today."
The accident occurred on Lake May Drive -- a small, gravel road that Laura uses as a shortcut to get to work. As she was driving to work at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday, the warm weather melted the compacted snow on the road enough to form a glaze, and combined with the road's washboard caused Laura to lose control of her car, John Nelson said.
Five snowmobilers who were traveling behind Laura when they saw her car slide into May Lake rushed to help her. The rescuers were James Langford, Glenn Bredeson, Chris Anderson, Jerome Clark and Shawna Hein.
Langford, a Walker resident, said the car broke through the ice of the lake and went into about four feet of water. Langford and another rescuer dove into the water to free Laura, only to find the doors locked. Using their snowmobile helmets, Langford and the others broke the rear window of the car, crawled in, cut Laura's seat belt and pulled her to safety.
The snowmobilers covered her up with their coats and called 911. Langford said Laura was coherent and concerned about notifying her husband and work about the accident.
"Everybody was lucky," Langford said. "We all got out dry, no one was hurt, everything turned out good for once."
Laura suffered no major injuries. She was treated at Park Rapids Hospital and released Thursday. Still shaken from the accident, Laura said today she is doing fine despite being sore.
"I feel a little lightheaded," she said. "I'm still a little out of it, shaky."
John Nelson said Laura had nightmares about the accident Thursday and has been having headaches, which the hospital said could be expected.
The rescuers weren't injured, either, and after making sure Laura was all right and on her way to the hospital, they continued on to a local bar to watch the Vikings-Cowboys game.
John is happy those five snowmobilers were traveling on Lake May Drive. "They have done something so nice for us, and we appreciate it," he said. "I've always said snowmobilers get a bad rap, but I've seen them do some good."
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