TODAY   |  March 24, 2014

Boy trapped on ice: ‘Help us! We’re going to die!’

Brothers Dylan and Corbin Crawford, along with their mom, appear live on TODAY to talk about their terrifying experience while trapped in an ice floe on the Des Moines River.

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

>>> we are back now at 7:41 with a daring rescue in iowa that has one family breathing a sigh of reli relief. we're going to talk to them and their hero firefighter in a moment. but first more on their harrow harrowing ordeal. it was a typical afternoon along the icy des moines river . dylan and corbin crawford were throwing rocks along the shore enjoying the day outside until things took a dangerous turn.

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

>> the ice they were standing on broke away from the river bank headed toward a hydroelectro dam.

>> got really, really, really scared.

>> rescue crewed raced against time throwing them a rope and life jackets in case the thin ice gave way. after 45 harrowing minutes, rescuers were finally able to get a boat to the boys hauling them off the ice and into the safety of their mother's arms.

>> i scooped them up and just was so thankful to have them in my arms.

>> well, dylan and corbin are with us now along with their mom barbara and alan the firefighter who rescued them. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> when you got that call and you're driving to the river, what was going through your mind? must have been terrifying moments.

>> oh, i was petrified. i got the call while i was at work. and as soon as they told me what was going on, i ran out the door. barely even told anybody what i was doing. and got in my car as soon as i could. it seemed like eternity before i got there. but it was probably between five and ten minutes, honestly.

>> dylan and corbin , when you were out there on that ice flow and it was moving, what were you thinking? were you pretty scared?

>> yeah.

>> sudden death . maybe sudden death .

>> were you crying for help? how did you get anyone's attention?

>> my brother. help! help us! we're going to die!

>> do you have to do that every tv show ?

>> i'll try to be like you.

>> he's reenacting what happened. and this wonderful firefighter comes along. tell us about the rescue. there they are out there and you had to basically swim towards them?

>> it was the -- the river was rising. it was slowly rising , but we had a group of guys. my shift on the fire department , we were ready to go as soon as we got there. we got our gear on before we left the station. and got there and we thankfully just a few weeks ago, maybe a month or so ago, kind of practiced some ice rescue stuff. still somewhat fresh in our heads.

>> scary in and of itself to have them floating on this. they were actually headed to even more danger. can you explain?

>> they have a dam they were probably about 100 yards from and if something would've put it over. could have been a worse situation than it was. and you give them that hug. what was that moment like?

>> oh, my legs were jell-o. i was trying to do my best to stay calm for them so they would stay calm. but as soon as they came close to me, i scooped corbin up and both of us stood there and cried for probably a good five minutes. and then dylan came up and ran into the arms of his sister. and we were just all glad to be back together.

>> absolutely. but i know that once the relief wore off, you wanted to teach him a little lesson, too.

>> very much so. and, guys, what did you learn from this whole experience?

>> ice is bad. very bad. the dam is bad. very bad. i don't like the dam, no one likes ice.

>> that's a good lesson to hold on to. thank you so much.

>> not a problem. going to work, doing our job. doing what we love. got a good group of guys and all worked together to get the job done every day.

>> crawford family, glad to see you here on dry land . thank you.