Prison inmates save children from drowning

The raging river 
By: Tanya Malhotra 

(Scroll down for video) Those who think that prison inmates are very bad need to rethink their view after hero inmates saved several boys from drowning in the river, according to reports in Washington.

Inmates out on a work stint dove into a freezing, fast-moving river to save three boys whose kayak overturned on a creek in the state of Washington.

The boys, aged 8, 10, and 16, were kayaking on Salmon Creek in southwest Washington about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, when the boat capsized and threw them into the water.

About 10 prisoners of Larch Corrections Center near Yacolt, were doing supervised maintenance work in a public park near the creek and heard the boys crying for help.

"I just thought it was some kids screaming, until I saw two heads floating in the water with the canoe upside down," prisoner Nelson Pettis, 37, said.

Pettis said he dove into the water and let the current take him to a point downstream to the location of the boys where it was deep enough to keep his balance.

“I actually came right there," he said. “At that time, the current dragged me from under my feet, and I grabbed the kids and took them to a small island in the river,” he added.

Another prisoner, Larry Bohn, 29, jumped into the water and helped Pettis take the kids ashore.

When firefighters arrived, Jon Fowler, 29, helped inflate their rescue boat and then helped lead the 10-year-old boy to an ambulance.

"They were really scared," Bohn said. "They told us ‘Thank you, thank you,’ again and again,” he added.

Once ashore, the boys and two of the inmates were taken to a local hospital and were treated for mild hypothermia. No one involved suffered serious injuries.

The District Attorney and prison officials praised the inmates and said that they will receive a letter of praise.