By Tony Lopez

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A local family whose raft flipped on the river was saved by the lifejackets provided by Sac Metro Fire.

The Memorial Day weekend started out swimmingly for the Rice family—Mom, Dad, two sons and their new puppy Marmaduke.

But there was something about their raft

“It couldn’t go through the water with any speed,” said Jennifer Rice.

So when it hit a rock:

“The raft folded like a taco around me, and I got caught in the currents,” she said.

The raft got stuck, and she fell in. So did her son Nathaniel, and Marmaduke followed.

“There was nobody around, nobody. We were the last on the river,” she said. “It was terrifying. I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

Fear didn’t turn to panic, even after she lost sight of her boy.

“I could hear my youngest son screaming down the river and I couldn’t see him,” she said.

But she would see him, because of what the entire family was wearing, courtesy of Sac Metro Fire’s lifejacket loan-out program.

“I just want people to know that wearing life vests saved my life,” she said. “I know that for certain and it saved my son’s life.”

After the spill, the family struggled to find a landing spot, but darkness and colder air had a chilling effect on their youngest son.

Hypothermia was setting in and the boy wasn’t able to walk on his own. A 911 call prompted a helicopter rescue.

Four days after the accident, the family thanked their heroes, the Sac Metro Fire crew who gave them back the gift of life after first giving them something else.

Sac Mecro Fire made three rescues over the holiday weekend.