H. Lee Cooper helped to save Erika M. Hernandez and saved Michael C. Sagaro from drowning, Palm Beach, Florida, May 27, 2007. As Erika, 12, struggled in the Atlantic Ocean, her mother, on the beach, shouted for help, attracting the attention of Sagaro, 32, and a friend. They entered the water and started to swim out to Erika, who was about 180 feet from shore. Sagaro reached Erika and, although very tired, began to return her to shore. On the beach, Cooper, 44, sales executive, was also alerted to the situation. He entered the water and swam about 150 feet to Sagaro and Erika. Telling Sagaro he would return for him, Cooper took hold of Erika and towed her to shore, and then he swam back out to Sagaro. He placed an arm across Sagaro’s chest and swam to shore with him. Thinking there were others who might need aid, Cooper swam out a third time, with a rescue float. Erika and Sagaro were taken to the hospital for treatment. Sagaro’s friend drowned. Cooper was tired after returning to shore, but he recovered.
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