Five small children survived in near-freezing water for as long as 45 minutes after the car in which they were riding plunged off a highway into a holding pond near Minneapolis early this morning.
All five children were unresponsive at the time of the rescue, but are alive. They were taken to hospitals, but their current condition is not yet known.
Bystanders who saw the four-door sedan careen off the highway tried to help, swimming into the icy pond as the car slipped below the surface.
Police and rescue swimmers were able to free the children, aged 1 to 7, only after the vehicle was towed out of the water, leaving some of the youngsters in the frigid water for up to 45 minutes.
"They spent significant time in water," said State Patrol spokesman Eric Roeske. "The water is about nine feet deep. It's incredibly cold. Not freezing, but close."
The cold water may have helped keep the children alive, authorities said.
All the children are related to one another, and are the biological children or step-children of Marion Guerrido, 23, who was driving the car. Guerrido was able to escape the car on her own, before it sank.
Police said no alcohol was detected on Guerrido.
The children have been identified as Aliyana Rennie, 1, Zenavia Rennie, 5, Amani Coleman-Guerrido, 5, Zarihana Rennie, 6, and Alarious Coleman-Guerrido, 7.