More than a dozen rescuers rushed to the aid of three young men who got stranded on a chunk of ice in the Mississippi River in Brainerd on Wednesday.

Four young men told authorities that they had been walking along the banks of the river when a chunk broke off and floated into the middle, stranding three of them, Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek said.

One of the young men eventually called his mother, who called 911. Rescuers, including a dozen firefighters, Brainerd Police, the Crow Wing County dive team and North Memorial Ambulance responded quickly, Stunek said.

Firefighters scaled down a steep, 100-foot embankment in the back yard of resident Melissa Yeager, bringing an inflatable banana boat with them. They quickly reached the young men where the ice chunk got caught on some stumps in the river.

“I think this time of year with the ice breaking up, not only on the river but on the lakes … you have to be very, very cautious,”  Stunek said, adding that the river’s current can be swift through Brainerd and the young men were lucky.

The young men, two of whom are 19 and the other 20, didn’t seem scared, Stunek said, adding that they told him they had been on the ice for a while hoping it would float to shore.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Yeager.