Craig R. Espenshade saved Sophie S. McConnell from drowning, Stuart, Florida, February 18, 2011. While swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, McConnell, 67, became fatigued while battling rough surf and strong currents that kept her from returning to shore. At a point about 300 feet from the beach, she waved for help. Espenshade, 50, business operator, was walking his dog on the beach when he saw her. He obtained a four-foot body board from another beachgoer and swam out to McConnell with it. McConnell by then was nearly unconscious as Espenshade positioned her atop the board. Holding her in place, he started to return toward shore against the current, but it impeded his progress. With difficulty, Espenshade made it to the beach with McConnell, who had swallowed water and was exhausted. She recovered in a day.
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