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Mason City man describes rescue from water-covered ditch with help not only from Iowa State Patrol but also two other drivers.

Posted: Mar 19, 2019 10:10 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2019 8:44 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - An 82-year-old driver is sharing his story after authorities fished him out of what appeared to be an icy moat.

Harold Wendel was driving home from work around 9 Monday morning and was on the ramp to County Road B20 from southbound Interstate-35 north of Clear Lake.

"Went to turn off on that exit road onto B20, and a I hit a chunk of ice, and it put the car in the air. The vehicle rolled over and ended it up in that pond of water."

Fortunately, the vehicle ended right side up, but it suffered a lot of damage. Had it not, Wendel may well have been submerged.

"If I had been tipped over, I probably would've drowned."

With the car sitting in a stew of ice, rescuers had their work cut out for them, including Trooper Neal Johnson.

"He was sore and he was cold already and in shock, and his balance was off. So between myself and another individual being able to help assist him through the water, that's really the effort there."

A nurse and another driver were already helping Wendel when Johnson arrived. He calls them the real heroes.

"I was just doing my job, but it's great to see people in Iowa that will take the time to see something, not just get on their phone and call and say, 'you should go do something,' but they got out of their own car and they did something."

Despite the rollover and the freezing cold water, Wendel did not suffer any serious injuries.

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