Edward Amaral, 29, fish dealer, helped to save Edward D. Welch, 30, U. S. Coast Guardsman, from drowning, New Bedford, Massachusetts, January 7, 1958. At night while Welch, accompanied by another man, was driving across a bridge over the Acushnet River, his automobile skidded on the frost-covered roadway, plunged through the guard railing, and dropped 25 feet into near-freezing water at least 13 feet deep. Welch surfaced and began searching for his companion. Amaral was attracted and, taking with him a life preserver attached to a rope, descended to a small platform suspended alongside the bridge 12 feet above the water. He threw the preserver to Welch and drew him to a position below the edge of the platform. Two policemen arrived and aided Amaral in attempting to lift Welch, but the latter’s hands were too cold to retain his hold on the preserver. After the third attempt Welch was greatly fatigued and barely able to tread water. Amaral disrobed to his underwear, dived into the river, and tied a rope which another man had lowered from the platform, around the chest of Welch. Still holding the preserver, Welch then was lifted onto the platform and removed to a hospital. He had dropped the preserver on the platform, but no one thought to throw it to Amaral, who already was becoming numb. A hook and pulley attached to the cables of a wrecking crane was lowered to Amaral who twice tried to cling to the cables or stand on the hook but each time lost his hold and fell back into the water. Amaral then placed the pulley and hook between his legs and, holding to one of the cables with difficulty, was raised to the platform, nearly exhausted and almost numb from being in the cold water for 15 minutes. Welch suffered from shock and Amaral sustained painful bruises and cuts from the crane cables. Both recovered. Welch’s companion was drowned.
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