Charles R. Bonturi died attempting to save Daniel E. Cardoza from drowning, Moss Landing, California, February 2, 1962. Cardoza, 26, trucker, was digging clams in shallow water on a sand bar in the Pacific Ocean when a breaker swept him from the bar into a runoff gully alongside it. Surfacing 20 feet from the bar and nearly 300 feet from shore, he flailed wildly in water 10 feet deep as he was submerged briefly by breakers generally two feet high. Bonturi, 22, orchardist, who was digging nearby and had a sack of clams over his shoulder, waded to the edge of the gully and plunged into the deep water without removing any of his attire, which included a belt with a claming rake attached. Although he was a poor swimmer, Bonturi swam 30 feet to Cardoza as the latter surfaced after having submerged several times. Taking hold of him, Bonturi attempted to support Cardoza at the surface. They were submerged together three times. A breaker then submerged them again, and only Bonturi returned to the surface. Bonturi was unable to swim against a strong undercurrent in the ebbing tide and was carried to a line of high breakers 1,500 feet from shore. He then disappeared from view. Searchers failed to find Bonturi or Cardoza. Bonturi’s body was washed ashore the next day.
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