Nightly News   |  March 23, 2014

Watch Rescuers Fight to Save Boys From Icy River

Rescuers stage a dramatic rescue in order to save two brothers trapped on an ice chunk in a freezing Iowa river.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're learning more about a dramatic rescue that took place on a river in iowa, and two boys found themselves stuck on an ice floe .

>> reporter: for dillon and corbin crawford, the fear on their faces says it all.

>> he was like, help, help us!

>> reporter: the 7 and 12-year-olds were trapped on a piece of ice in the middle of the des moines river , headed straight for the churning waters of a hydroelectric dam . the two had been playing along the river bank .

>> one of them got their shoe stuck in the mud, went to clean it off and it went flying out there on the ice. they went out to retrieve the shoe. next thing they knew, they were floating down the river.

>> reporter: luckily, a witness spotted the boys clinging to each other and called 911. by the time rescue crews reached them, mom, barbara, was at the river's edge, watching in horror.

>> i know how strong the current is through there. i watched it. i just yelled at them, you're not in trouble. i just want you safe.

>> reporter: a photographer from the ft. dodge press captured the moment, as a firefighter threw a rope and rescue vests to the boys, crawling across the thin ice to save them.

>> i was able to pull the boat across the water and across the ice to us, where i then put the boys inside the boat.

>> reporter: bringing them back into their mother's arms.

>> i scooped them up and was just so thankful to have them in my arms. he just started crying. dillon was the next to come up. he went to his sister and all four of us just stood there, crying and thankful and happy that we were together.

>> reporter: two young survivors, shaken, but safe. kristen dahlgren, nbc news.