Adrian John Neerken, 46, surgeon, attempted to save Richard S. Fish, 15, schoolboy, from drowning, Kalamazoo, Michigan, December 26, 1965. While walking on an ice-covered lake, Richard and his stepbrother broke through into water 15 feet deep and floundered wildly in a hole 15 feet in diameter. They called for help. Neerken, wearing winter clothing including a jacket and galoshes, ran 150 feet to the lake, taking with him a 12-foot wooden ladder. Lying prone, he crawled about 300 feet on the ice, pushing the ladder ahead of him to the edge of the hole. Richard and his stepbrother, both of whom had been submerged briefly several times, then were beneath the surface. To move the rest of the way to the hole, Neerken crawled onto the ladder, which broke through the ice. Neerken engaged the ice on each side of him with his elbows and was submerged only to his chest. Richard grasped the ladder underwater and with its help returned to the surface, where he held to the ice. His stepbrother remained submerged and drowned. Neerken and Richard, at opposite ends of the submerged ladder, engaged their feet in the rungs and thus received some support. Numbed by the cold water, they held to the ice until firemen arrived with a boat and took them to the bank. They recovered.
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