(Olivia, MN) – The Renville County Sheriff’s office says eight people were rescued by the National Guard after becoming stranded on area roadways during dangerous blizzard conditions.

Governor Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency in Renville County, allowing the National Guard Unit in Olivia to activate and rescue the stranded motorists with specialized vehicles and equipment.  Two separate rescue missions were executed off Highway 71 during the nighttime hours. According to a release from the sheriff’s department, eight people were rescued from their vehicles and brought to safety.

The Olivia armory was used as a shelter, housing 18 stranded motorists overnight.  One person suffered an ankle injury while attempting to walk away from his vehicle in the snow-filled ditch, according to an email from Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable.

The Renville County Sheriff says deputies spent several hours earlier in the evening attempting to rescue people stranded in vehicles that were either stuck in drifts or had been stranded off-road, the occupants still stuck inside.  The sheriff’s department said drifts, subzero temperatures, and wind chills of nearly 30 below zero made travel for law enforcement nearly impossible.

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