Gisole R. Romito died attempting to save Vincent Bokanovich from suffocation, Bedford, Ohio, June 9, 1963. After uncovering a manhole extending 17 feet downward to a sanitary sewer which had become blocked, Bokanovich, 42, maintenance foreman, descended 11 feet on rungs imbedded in the manhole wall and stopped just above water five feet deep which emitted a stale sewage odor. Bokanovich was overcome due to a deficiency of oxygen in the manhole and pitched forward into the water. Romito, 47, maintenance foreman, shouted that Bokanovich was drowning and immediately stepped onto the top rung of the manhole ladder. Although two men called warnings to him, Romito descended to just above the water and took hold of Bokanovich by his belt. Romito, who had been inside the manhole about a minute, then was overcome and fell into the water. Most of his body was submerged, but his face was above the surface. Benedict M. Wolanski, another maintenance foreman, then entered the manhole. Others also warned him, but Wolanski descended to just above the water. He extended a leg toward Romito and called to him but got no response. Within a minute Wolanski was overcome, fell into the water, and sank with only the back of his head at the surface. Meanwhile police and firemen had been summoned. A policeman wearing an oxygen mask entered the manhole but left when he became dizzy as he tried to tie a rope about Wolanski. Firemen wearing masks succeeded in tying ropes about Wolanski, Romito, and Bokanovich. All three were dead when removed.
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