Douglas G. Bent saved Eric M. Tschudi from drowning, Stuart, Florida, September 6, 1986. Eric, 17, was a passenger in a car that, in a highway accident, left a bridge and submerged, upside down, in the 12-foot-deep water of the Indian River. Unable to escape the car, Eric lost consciousness. Bent, 30, helicopter mechanic, who was nearby, ran to the water’s edge, jumped in, and swam 100 feet to where the car had sunk. Hampered by poor visibility and a strong current, Bent dived several times to the car before he was able to open its passenger door. Using his body to keep the door open against the current, Bent reached inside and pulled Eric out. He surfaced with Eric and, with others, took him to the bank. Eric was revived and, after hospitalization, he recovered.
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