Rescued from the ice

Two boys who became marooned on ice in the Des Moines River near the Hydroelectric Dam were rescued by Fort Dodge firefighters Thursday afternoon.

Both boys appeared to be unharmed, and they were examined at the scene in Hydro-electric Park by paramedics from Trinity Regional Medical Center. They were not taken to the hospital.

“One of the guys here got a message saying they’re home and enjoying some hot chocolate and that they learned their lessons for the day,” Fire Department Capt. Paul Neeson said late Thursday afternoon.

Relatives and witnesses at the scene identified the boys as Corbin Crawford, 12, and Dylan Crawford, 7, both of Fort Dodge.

The boys were huddled together on a sheet of ice about 75 feet from the west bank of the Des Moines River when rescuers arrived shortly after 2 p.m. They were about 300 feet north of the Hydroelectric Dam.

Fire Chief Kent Hulett said a witness reported seeing the boys go out onto the ice farther upstream near the boat ramp in Hydro-electric Park. He said the witness added that the ice began shifting and moving downstream. The boys, he said, started to panic and the witness called 911.

Another bystander, Michael Burns, of Fort Dodge, was riding his bicycle in Hydro-electric Park when he saw the two boys heading toward some rocks along the river. Minutes later, he spotted them on the ice.

The rescue took about 45 minutes and involved ropes and a boat.

Firefighters threw a rope to the boys and then used it to send a pair of life jackets to them. Firefighter Alan Angstrom donned a flotation suit and went out onto the ice with the boys. Firefighter Pat Greve, wearing another flotation suit, went out into the icy water between the boys and the shore.

With the firefighters and ropes in position, rescuers on the shore attached a flat-bottomed aluminum boat, chosen because its light weight would reduce the chances of it breaking through the ice, to the lines. Angstrom used the ropes to pull the boat to himself and the boys. All three carefully climbed in, and the boat was pulled to the shore.

Once safely on land, the boys were embraced by their mother, Barbara Crawford, and were hustled into an ambulance.

Fort Dodge police and Webster County sheriff’s deputies also responded to the incident.