Irma C. Keil, 27, secretary, died as the result of attempting to save Thomas J. Fleming, 16, schoolboy, from drowning, Howard Beach, New York, April 13, 1958. When the motorboat he operated capsized in Grassy Bay a quarter of a mile from shore in water 20 feet deep, Thomas and another youth left their four companions, who called for help as they held to the overturned craft, and attempted to swim to shore for aid. Numbed by the cold water, they turned back; but Thomas was able to swim only to within 300 feet of the boat as his companion returned to it. Mrs. Keil and her husband were attracted and piloted their motorboat to within 30 feet of Thomas, hesitating to approach nearer because the propeller might injure the youth. Two life preservers were thrown to Thomas, who made no move to take hold of them and then sank just beneath the surface. Mrs. Keil removed her shoes and some of her clothing and swam 30 feet through choppy waves to Thomas. After securing a hold on Thomas, she called that she was unable to lift him to the surface. The husband moved his boat 10 feet nearer, removed some of his clothing, and swam to where his wife was supporting Thomas; but he could not lift him to the surface. Mrs. Keil seized her husband’s arm, told him she was exhausted, and then sank. Releasing his hold on Thomas, the husband submerged and brought her back to the surface. He tried to support both his wife and Thomas, but their combined weight caused all to be submerged. The husband again released his hold on Thomas, who then sank, and brought his wife back to the surface. The boat and life preservers by then had drifted away from them. As her husband continued to support her, Mrs. Keil steadily became weaker and finally lost consciousness. Other boats then reached Mrs. Keil, her husband, and the five youths clinging to the overturned craft. Mrs. Keil could not be revived. The body of Thomas was recovered 48 days later.
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