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Martha W. Mitchell, Elderly Virginia Woman Pinned Under Lawnmower For 5 Hours, Digs Her Way Out

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Need a good reason to skip lawn care activities?

The Briston Herald Courier reports that an 81-year-old Virginia woman ran into mechanical problems while mowing a patch of her lawn on the rural property where she grew up with 14 brothers and sisters.

The mower's brakes gave out. Then the machine tipped over on Martha W. Mitchell:

"I thought I was totally trapped," she said. "I have (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and I couldn't holler and I started to pray. I said, 'Lord, give me a strong voice to holler for the neighbors,' and I did holler. But after about an hour, a voice spoke to me and said, 'Nobody's gonna come, Martha.'"

Mitchell spent much of the five hours she was trapped praying -- first for shade from a cloud, which came, then for rain, which also came. But after hours, when still no one arrived to help her out of her predicament, she fashioned a digging tool from the handle of a nearby bucket.

After freeing herself, Mitchell says she dragged herself to the house "about 20 yards away," then took a bath and fell into bed. After two days of pain, Mitchell called an ambulance to take her to the hospital, where she learned that she'd broken her hip, pelvis and ankle.

As of Monday, about two weeks after the accident, Mitchell told the newspaper she is "on the slow but painful mend" with a renewed religious faith.

This isn't the only such lawnmower incident this summer. A man in New York's Ulster County was trapped for 13 hours when the contraption fell on top of him after hitting a stone wall.