Donald Perry Franks died attempting to save Mellie Ann Prince from drowning, Raleigh, North Carolina, March 31, 1963. Mellie Ann, 12, got into difficulty in water beyond her depth in the Neuse River and called for help as the current carried her downstream. Donald, 17, painter’s helper, removed only his shoes and lunged into the main channel of the river. He swam smoothly for 50 feet and then continued 100 feet farther with obvious effort, reaching Mellie Ann in water 10 feet deep. She grasped him around the neck, forcing him beneath the surface before releasing him. Donald rose to the surface, gasping, and flailed his arms as he and Mellie Ann were carried 20 feet farther downstream. Donald then sank. His stepfather swam to where Donald was floating just beneath the surface and lifted his head above water. After twice losing his hold on Donald, the stepfather nearly was exhausted and swam to the bank. Donald remained submerged, and his body was later recovered. Another man saved Mellie Ann.
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