Don Wayne Diller died following attempts to save Margaret L., Cynthia L., and Stanley W. Smith, 44, 4 and 6, respectively, from drowning, Bodega Bay, California, November 25, 1962. The Smith family, in a cabin cruiser piloted by the father and accompanied by Diller, 33, contract administrator, and his two young sons, were in the Pacific ocean a mile from shore when swells generally six to eight feet high capsized the boat. The pilot, Diller, and the latter’s younger son were washed overboard, but the others were trapped inside the cabin, where loose gear blocked the door and where there was an air space of 30 inches above the water. While the other man aided the boy onto the overturned boat, Diller dived under the bow and opened the cabin’s windshield. A floating grating prevented him from removing the persons inside. Diller told them he would be back to help them and returned to the surface. The other man dived, entered the cabin by way of a then submerged hatch, and thrust Diller’s older son through it to the outside. Diller placed his sons, who were wearing life jackets, astride the keel of the pitching boat. Removing his shoes, Diller dived twice at the bow in attempting to re-enter the cabin. After a large swell rolled the boat, Cynthia, wearing a life jacket, appeared at the surface 12 feet away. Diller swam to her and towed her back to the craft. She was inert, but Diller revived her and then placed her astride the keel between the two boys. Diller dived again but was unable to reach the Smiths. The swells several times washed Diller, Cynthia, and the two boys into the water before darkness fell. On each occasion Diller towed Cynthia back to the boat, while the older boy aided his brother. All were suffering with cramps and were nearly numb from exposure. Another swell washed them from the boat, and the boys returned to it. Diller searched in the darkness for Cynthia and then, unable to find her, climbed onto the boat with the boys. When they again were washed into the water, Diller was unable to find the younger boy. Diller and his older son climbed onto the boat. Some time later a large swell washed them from the boat and separated them. The boy was swept ashore and, after regaining some strength, walked to a farmhouse for help. A searching party found the bodies of Diller, Cynthia, Stanley, and Diller’s younger son along the beach. Mrs. Smith’s body was washed ashore two weeks later, but the body of her husband was not recovered.
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