Gachino Galante helped to save Gregory A. Steirer from drowning, Beach Haven, New Jersey, May 28, 2006. While swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, Steirer, 26, called for help as he attempted to return to shore against a strong current in the very cold water. Hearing him, Galante, 23, college student, and a friend, who were on the beach in the vicinity, immediately entered the water and swam out to him, reaching him at a point about 170 feet from shore. Also unable to return against the current, they struggled to support Steirer, Galante suffering respiratory distress. Another man swam out to them from the beach, taking two short surfboards. Steirer and Galante each lay atop one of the boards, which the other man started to tow in, making any progress with difficulty against the current. Recovering somewhat, Galante gave up his board to the other man, allowing the other man the use of both hands to paddle. They continued toward shore, again with difficulty. Galante’s friend, meanwhile, swam to the side of a jetty that was in the vicinity, and a responding police officer aided her to safety. Another emergency responder took a longer surfboard out to Steirer, Galante, and the other man, after which a rescuer on a personal watercraft arrived and returned Steirer, then Galante, to shore. The other man and the first responder returned to shore atop the longer surfboard. Steirer required hospital treatment for hypothermia, and he recovered, as did Galante, who was cold and tired.
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