Caledonia man walks away relatively uninjured after freak lawnmower accident

CALEDONIA -- A man is crediting his neighbors and emergency crews for saving his life after a freak lawnmower accident in Caledonia Saturday, November 10th.

60-year-old Louis Gloede was mowing his lawn when the tractor slid into a nearby pond. 

"I figured, I'm done. I just thought I was a goner," Gloede said.

Gloede was trapped underwater -- his tractor on top of him as he struggled for air. 

"I was trying to keep my head above the water, but I kept sliding down and I just passed out after that," Gloede said.

Neighbor John Schacht saw his neighbor fall in the water and called 911.

"I waited a couple of seconds to see if he could get out and then I could see he could not get out," Schacht said.

Meanwhile, a neighbor jumped in to try save Gloede, but needed more help.  That's when Schacht's wife went door-to-door asking for help. 

"Your adrenaline kicks in and you just keep going. You do what you have to do," Joan Schacht said.

Without thinking, neighbor Bob Welch ran out of his home and jumped in the water.

"Louis' nose and part of his mouth were the only thing above the surface. The rest of his body was under water," Welch said.

Welch and another man tried pushing the tractor off of Gloede, and within minutes, emergency crews arrived at the scene. They pushed off the tractor and pulled Gloede to safety. 

"People were in the right spot at the right time," Welch said.

Gloede was underwater for eight to 10 minutes.  After a brief hospital visit, Gloede walked away healthy and thankful -- with only a headache and a few bruises.

"It's amazing that he's here today and actually with us today," Rob Sides with the Caledonia Police Department said.

Gloede became emotional when he recalled what was done for him by his neighbors and emergency crews -- in a situation that could have been much worse.

 "I just really, really appreciate it," Gloede said.

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