G. Vernon Barrington, Jr., 19, charter boat mate, saved Cheryl J. Cook, 16, from drowning, Nags Head, North Carolina, August 1, 1966. Miss Cook and her brother, 0. Edward Cook, were swimming in rough surf in the Atlantic Ocean and were carried seaward by a strong undertow. They called for help. Barrington and Ralph W. Johnson, who had been surfing for more than two hours, learned of the situation. They ran 1,500 feet to opposite Miss Cook and her brother, who could be seen only occasionally between breakers four to six feet high. Barrington, who suffered from asthma, immediately entered the water. Johnson followed with a surfboard. Barrington was winded by the time he reached Miss Cook 500 feet from shore. A breaker submerged them briefly. Miss Cook struggled with Barrington as they drifted 25 feet farther from shore before Johnson reached them. Barrington said he would attempt to tow her to shore if Johnson would take the board and go to the aid of the brother. Barrington took hold of Miss Cook by the hair and began towing her shoreward. A breaker submerged them, and they surfaced separately. Miss Cook grasped Barrington by the neck, and they were submerged briefly again. Barrington broke away, obtained a chinhold, and continued towing her shoreward. She began squirming, and they were submerged briefly once more. Although he became very tired and winded and had to stop periodically to rest, Barrington towed Miss Cook to within 50 feet of shore, from where others aided in taking her to the beach. Meanwhile Johnson swam with the surfboard 300 feet almost parallel to shore and reached Cook 550 feet from the beach. Johnson aided Cook, who was very weak, onto the surfboard and then pushed it shoreward, using his feet for propulsion. Experiencing a cramp in his leg, Johnson trod water to rest. A breaker overturned the surfboard, and Cook was submerged briefly. Johnson aided him back onto the board and continued shoreward. Johnson was tired and winded by the time he had pushed the surfboard to within 50 feet of shore, from where others aided in taking Cook to the beach.
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