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Jail Work Crew Pulls Teens From Icy River Near Vancouver

Salmon Creek nearly claims 2 teens lives near Vancouver
(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Thee inmates in Clark County, Washington are being called heroes today.Nelson Pettis, Larry Bohn, and Jon Fowler were part of a work crew from the Larch Correctional Center working near Salmon Creek (not far from Hazel Dell). It’s a small unincorporated area near Vancouver.

The men were wrapping up their workday Thursday near the Klineline Bridge by Highway 99 when they heard screams. They thought it might have been just some kids playing,  until they saw two boys’ heads bobbing just out of the water with a capsized canoe nearby. The men plunged into the icy waters of Salmon Creek and tried to swim to the two teenagers.

The current was so swift the men could not swim against it. They jumped in downstream from where the boys were, so they braced themselves in chest-high water and waited for the boys to drift to them. The men were able to grab the boys and pull them to an island in the middle of the creek, which is the size of the Yakima River!

Several other witnesses in the area were able to call emergency services, and they were able to get the inmates and boys back to shore. The two teens and two of the inmates were treated briefly for hypothermia at an area hospital.

The three men serving time at Larch for non-violent offenses simply said, “We did something any good person would do.”

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