Ashley Norman Smith, 37, park maintenance man, died attempting to help save Leon F. Sirutis, 17, schoolboy, from drowning, Sailor’s Haven, New York, May 21, 1966. While wading in surf in the Atlantic Ocean off Fire Island, Sirutis was knocked down by a breaker and swept away from shore by a strong riptide. He was carried to another boy who was wearing a rubber suit and had a surfboard. When they lost the board, they held to each other and called for help. Smith ran 500 feet to the water’s edge. William Earl Shaner followed, running 400 feet. Undressing to their underwear, they picked up a surfboard, entered the cold water, and waded 45 feet from shore in the riptide area. They then swam 15 feet farther with the board between them. The surf overturned the board, and they were submerged. They surfaced 50 feet farther from shore and were carried seaward. James Charles Lawler ran 700 feet to the water’s edge and undressed to his underwear. Taking with him a life preserver, he waded and swam to 200 feet from the beach, where Sirutis and the other boy then were 10 feet apart in water 10 feet deep. Lawler, who appeared exhausted, gave the preserver to the boy, who said he did not need it and threw it to Sirutis. Lawler, treading water feebly, was carried farther seaward. Sirutis and the boy managed to swim out of the riptide into an area of breakers, which swept them shore- ward. The other boy reached the beach. By then James C. DelGiudice also had undressed to his underwear. Despite warnings by others, he tied a rope around his waist and entered the water, taking with him a surfboard. With the end of the rope held by persons on the beach, DelGiudice waded and swam 60 feet to Sirutis. He held Sirutis on the board, and the surf swept them into wadable water. After helping Sirutis to shore, DelGiudice saw Smith floating a hundred feet from the beach. With the rope still tied around him, DelGiudice took a life preserver and waded and swam to Smith. Although he had swallowed some water and was affected by the cold, DelGiudice held Smith on the preserver while those on shore pulled them to the beach. Smith was removed to a hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. The bodies of Shaner and Lawler later were recovered.
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