Alexander T. Wiatt II saved Bobbie R. Basham from drowning, Newport News, Virginia, July 25, 1963. When Basham’s automobile veered off the highway at night and plunged into a pond, the momentum carried the vehicle to 30 feet from the bank. Basham, 35, flight service supervisor, got out of the automobile before it sank in deep water, but in the darkness he swam farther from the bank. Wiatt, 44, veterinarian, was passing and stopped to investigate. In the beam of his flashlight he saw Basham, who bad been submerged briefly twice and was so tired that he barely could tread water. An automobile containing four men stopped. While one of them held the flashlight, Wiatt, after removing only his shoes, waded into the stagnant water and swam to within five feet of Basham, who then was 40 feet from the bank. Fearing a struggle, Wiatt swam to behind Basham and took hold of him. He towed Basham 10 feet but lost his hold. Basham was submerged briefly again. While towing him 10 feet farther, Wiatt began to tire, and Basham’s head dipped under water several times. Wiatt took a deep breath and submerged. Surfacing, he lifted Basham so that his head was well out of the water, enabling him to take in air. Wiatt towed Basham farther toward the bank and repeated the maneuver to give him air. Although he swallowed some water, Wiatt continued towing Basham to where the men had formed a chain and waded into the pond. The lead man took Basham from Wiatt, who was so fatigued that he had to be aided from the water.
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