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Closer Look: Reward For San Quentin Inmates Who Rescued Boaters

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San Quentin State Prison (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Quentin State Prison (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN QUENTIN STATE PRISON (CBS 5) — On April 19, nearly a dozen San Quentin inmates pulled two people from the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay.

Marin County resident James Laurel and a female friend had taken a motorboat out on the bay. The boat developed engine trouble and later capsized. A guard at San Quentin’s Tower Three heard the couple’s cries for help from the water and sounded the alarm.

Ten ‘lesser risk’ inmates from the prison’s firehouse and several prison employees pulled the two victims from bay waters using fire hoses. None of the inmates had previous open water rescue training.

“He was unresponsive. I held his head above the water. At the same time I was trying to feel for a pulse,” said inmate Derrick Edgerly. “At that time the captain was making a loop in the hose to pull him up.”

Laurel was transported to Marin General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His female friend survived.

Some of the inmates, who live 24 hours a day at the firehouse, may be released early due to their heroic efforts that night.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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