Deborah M. Gibson saved John B. Frazee from drowning, Cross Hill, South Carolina, August 8, 1963. The helicopter in which Frazee, 25, Army helicopter pilot, and another man were riding struck electric lines and plunged into Lake Greenwood, where flames which had broken out were extinguished as the craft overturned and began to sink. The other man was fatally injured, but Frazee got out despite a broken leg and other injuries, surfaced, and called for help as he clung to the sinking aircraft in water 20 feet deep a 160 feet from the bank. Deborah, 15, schoolgirl, entered the water and swam toward Frazee, taking with her an inflated inner tube. Oil and gasoline which had leaked from the helicopter were spreading over the water and got into Deborah’s eyes and nose. As she neared the helicopter, it sank completely and pulled Frazee under water. He surfaced and took hold of the inner tube extended by Deborah, who had swallowed some water and was choking on the oil. Deborah towed Frazee 85 feet toward the bank by means of the inner tube. A motorboat approached, and Deborah feared it might set fire to the oil and gasoline on the water. The boat’s pilot shut off the motor before reaching the fuel-covered area, and the four occupants rowed the craft to where Deborah was holding Frazee, who had weakened, to the inner tube. Frazee held to the side of the boat, and Deborah swam behind it as the occupants rowed the craft the rest of the way to the bank. Frazee was hospitalized and recovered.
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