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(VANCOUVER, Wash.) — Prison inmates helped rescue three brothers from a chilly, fast-moving creek after the boys’ kayak had overturned, officials in Vancouver, Wash., said.

A work crew was clearing away damaged trees along a creek near the city of Vancouver in southwest Washington when its members heard the sound of kids screaming.

A kayak had flipped over in the creek, tossing three brothers, ages 8, 10, and 16, into the chilly water. Two inmates who were part of the work crew then jumped into the water and swam out to the boys, bringing the younger two to an island of debris in the middle of the creek, where they waited until they could be rescued. The older brother was able to swim safely to shore.

“I think they did a pretty good job,” Larch Corrections Center spokeswoman Nancy Simmons told ABC News.  “The creek is really cold, and they were in the water for at least 10 minutes.”

The boys and inmates were treated for mild hypothermia at separate hospitals.

The creek was flowing at a dangerous 25 mph, Fire District Chief Jerry Green told ABC News.

“A normal flow is probably about half of that,” he said.

The inmates were serving sentences for convictions ranging from vehicle theft to forgery and unlawful possession of firearms.  Simmons said no violent criminals or sex offenders can qualify to be on a work crew.

She added that, while she appreciated the rescue job, if the inmates involved were hoping for a reduction in the length of their sentences they will likely be disappointed.

“No chance,” said Simmons.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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