Two 12-year old girls and an 11-year-old boy who tried beating Saturdays heat by wading in the Black River quickly found themselves trapped by rapids, with no available means of escape.
Their shouts for help at 2:25 p.m. off the shore of Newell Streets 500 block prompted a 68-minute rescue operation by city firefighters. One of the children suffered a minor injury, which was attended to by Guilfoyle Ambulance personnel, according to the fire department.
The trio entered the river behind Maggies On The River, then moved westward as they enjoyed the cooling effects of the waters flow.
But after wading several hundred feet, they discovered they were in trouble, said Battalion Chief Matthew R. Timerman.
They were standing safely in calm shallows, but they panicked in assessing the water flow that surrounded them, he said.
Because they were smart enough to not challenge the rapids and to follow firemens instructions, everything turned out smoothly, he said.
Fire companies positioned themselves on both sides of the river, with crews on the north side grabbing their two throw bags to begin a rescue.
Throw bags contain about 75 feet of rope and are designed to effectively toss the lines to trapped persons. The youths were told that the ropes would be directed somewhat away from them, and that they should wait until the water flow carried the lines to them, Chief Timerman said.
The operation was carried out perfectly, bringing the young trio to the north shore, he said.
But the rescue effort was not finished. The jagged rocky surface and thickets created a less than welcoming path for the barefooted youths to leave the shoreline, so firefighters launched their boat on the south shore, crossed the stream and took aboard the three passengers for the return southbound ride.
There was no information from the police department to indicate whether the youths or their parents were given any advice about the risks of wading or swimming in the Black River.