Frank L. Jackson helped to save Pavel Hruban from drowning, Potomac, Maryland, September 21, 2003. Hruban, 24, entered the Potomac River in Mather Gorge to swim, despite the extremely turbulent water and strong current, the result of a hurricane just days earlier that left the river above flood stage. He was immediately pulled downstream. Jackson, 19, college student, was in a kayak along the opposite bank of the river in that vicinity when he saw Hruban struggling about 50 feet away. Jackson set out after Hruban and met up with him downstream. Hruban grasped the side of the kayak, causing it to list. On instruction by Jackson, Hruban grasped the handle at the back of the craft and held to it as Jackson attempted to paddle back to the bank. Drag provided by Hruban plus the strength of the current overpowered Jackson’s attempts, and the kayak was taken about a mile downstream. Near the end of the gorge, the kayak entered a stretch of rapids, and Hruban lost his grip. Jackson maneuvered the craft around for Hruban to re-establish his hold, and the kayak then continued through the remaining rapids. The river widened beyond the gorge and at that point contained a rocky island, which that day was almost inundated. The current took the kayak to the island, where breaking water overturned it, throwing Jackson into the river. Hruban, still holding to the craft, was pulled farther downstream, where he was able to swim ashore. Jackson climbed onto the island, then was aided to the bank by others using a line. A water rescue team arrived and took Hruban and Jackson to safety. They were tired but not seriously injured, Jackson requiring hospital treatment for abrasions and bruises. He recovered.
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