David Matthew Elton died helping attempt to save Barbara D. Clement from drowning, Shelter Cove, California, March 25, 2000. Ms. Clement, 45, who was chaperoning a group of high school students hiking a remote trail along a beach of the Pacific Ocean, was struck by a wave, knocked from her feet, and carried toward the surf by the very swift backwash. David, 17, and another of the male students immediately dropped their backpacks and ran to Ms. Clement, who was struggling to regain her footing. David and the other student were last seen on either side of Ms. Clement when a large wave broke over them and took them into the surf. A third male student and another of the chaperones ran toward them, but they too were overtaken by the backwash and were swept into the ocean and carried seaward by a strong current. Fishing boats responded to the scene and removed Ms. Clement, the other chaperone, and the third student from the 48-degree water, one of the fishermen single-handedly having to penetrate deeply the area of 12-foot breakers for the other chaperone, who was nearer shore. Ms. Clement drowned, but the other chaperone and the third student recovered after hospital treatment. The bodies of David and the student who had responded with him were recovered from the surf four and three days later, respectively. They too had drowned.
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