Three Iowans are recalling what they say was the most terrifying 24 hours of their lives. Creighton Kinny, Brad Thies and Chris Puetz, all from Dubuque, were driving home from a Chicago airport when they became stranded in Tuesday’s blizzard. Their SUV got stuck in a snow drift in the middle of a rural highway near Lena, Illinois.

 Kinny says it wasn’t snowing in Chicago when they started the drive. “We got as far as 51 miles away from home and that drive took us seven hours,” Kinny said. All three men were without coats. They had flown into Chicago after running a half marathon in Miami, Florida.

A semi also got stuck on the highway near the men’s SUV. The men spent 13 hours in the semi cab waiting for help. “It was pretty scary because the semi kept shutting off in the middle of the night,” Thies said. “We’d wake up, just shivering.” The men were eventually rescued by firefighters who responded to the scene on snow mobiles.

“It’s so nice to know that there are people like that out there. We would have been dead if it wasn’t for those people there,” Kinny said. The men waited at a fire station while their rental vehicle was dug out of the snow.

By Katie Wiedemann, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids