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Woman saved by police after running lawnmower into canal, calls them her heroes

By Star Connor and Jordan Honeycutt

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    RIVER BEND, North Carolina (WLOS) — A woman is thanking the emergency responders who helped her after she was pinned underwater by her lawnmower and she nearly drowned.

Aleta Syvertsen said if it weren’t for the River Bend Police Department, she doesn’t know if she would be alive today.

Syvertsen said she normally cuts her neighbor’s grass as a friendly gesture, and loves riding her John Deere lawnmower every week as therapy, but she said she didn’t expect what happened last Tuesday.

“I feel very blessed, very blessed. It could’ve been a whole lot worse,” she said.

Syvertsen said she’s doing good but has seven broken ribs and bruising, but is feeling lucky after being rescued from the river canal in her backyard.

“I was just cutting grass. It was a normal day, just working in the yard,” she said. “I didn’t plan on going in the canal. I was right up here and I went all the way to this block right here. So, I went to back up, I thought I was backing up, and I hit the gas and I went over.”

Neighbor Judi Campbell said when she saw that her friend was pinned, she panicked.

“It sounded like she hit the tree, but she didn’t.”

It only took seconds for River Bend Police to respond.

“It was obvious that she was struggling keeping her head up, so my first priority was to get her head up so she could breathe,” said River Bend Chief of Police Sean Joll.

“It was very heavy. I was the one who lifted it off of her. I was able to get it off of her so that she could get out without further injuries,” said RBPD Sergeant Johnathan Whitley. “Seconds matter because at no time, it only takes 7 seconds from water that you can possibly go unconscious.”

Syvertsen said thanks to that quick response she’s still here to tell her story today.

“Thank you, Thank you. They are my heroes. The River Bend Police Department are heroes,” she said.

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