Frank Michael Diaz died helping to save Vincent E. Ornelas from drowning, Santa Barbara, California, April 15, 1963. Vincent, 14, schoolboy, was on a wooden surfboard in the Pacific Ocean when the wind velocity increased and carried him seaward. He was unable to turn the heavy board or make any progress toward the beach. On a lighter surfboard, Frank, 14, schoolboy, went to the aid of Vincent and reached him a half a mile from shore, where the water was 60 feet deep. Frank turned his board shoreward and paddled alongside Vincent, who nearly was exhausted. Sliding into the water, Frank held the two surfboards while Vincent moved onto the lighter one. Frank then boarded the wooden board and turned it toward shore. Because Vincent was too fatigued to paddle, Frank attempted to tow him through swells about three feet high by having him hold to his ankle. Unable to make any progress, Frank then called toward other youths on shore. Both boards continued drifting to about a mile from shore, where the swells became increasingly choppy. Frank then said he would go for help. After instructing Vincent to stay on the surfboard no matter what happened, Frank paddled 450 feet toward the beach. He then appeared to be washed off his surfboard as a large mass of kelp struck it. He was not seen thereafter. A rescue boat arrived and picked up Vincent and the two surfboards but could not locate Frank. His body later was washed ashore.
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