Three teenaged boys are safe and dry after being rescued from the middle of a raging and quickly rising Northwest Anacostia River during yesterday's fierce evening thunderstorms.
At around 7:15 p.m. yesterday, rescue crews and police responded to the 38th Street bridge on the border of Hyattsville and Brentwood for reports of three boys stranded on a bridge pylon in the middle of the river.
"The power of Mother Nature was evident," said Mark Brady, public information officer for the Prince George's County Fire Department.
One eyewitness told fire officials that the three boys were seen walking along the banks of the river during a break in the storm.
"She turned away for just a moment and when she looked back she saw them in the water frantically attempting to make their way back to the safety of the shore," said Brady. "They didn’t stand a chance swimming in the swift moving water and were carried downstream."
Rescuers from the PGFD Technical Services Team, which handles complex rescues, were first able to get life jackets to the boys while they clung to the pylon and struggled agains the swift water. Then, crews were able to use a ladder truck and pulley system to lower Firefighter Joe Ford over the side of the bridge to hoist the boys up one by one. Downstream, more rescuers awaited, ready to fire lifelines across the river should one of the boys or one of the rescuers be swept away.
Once on dry land, the boys were treated for shock and hypothermia, according to Mark Brady.
Brady estimates that the boys had been in the water for more than an hour before they were able to be rescued.