Isabel N. Ramirez saved Ausencio M. Vigil from drowning, Long Beach, California, December 20, 1961. When the automobile Vigil, 26, cannery warehouse laborer, was driving plunged 12 feet into Cerritos Channel, the two other occupants drowned as the vehicle sank in water 37 feet deep. Vigil, a poor swimmer, sustained chest injuries but escaped from the automobile, surfaced, and in shock worked his arms feebly as he alternately sank and rose. Miss Ramirez, 27, cannery quality inspector, who was in a crowd which had gathered at the bridge railing, noted that no one was preparing to go to the aid of Vigil. Although a poor swimmer, she removed her shoes and jacket, climbed over the guardrail, and descended on bridge projections to a platform seven feet below. She then lowered herself into the cold water and swam 50 feet to Vigil, who weighed at least 40 pounds more than she. Grasping his jacket, Miss Ramirez towed him 11 feet to a log fender 10 feet below the dock platform of a warehouse and boosted him part way onto the log. She then climbed onto the log and pulled him onto it, where both remained until firemen arrived with a ladder. Vigil was hospitalized. Miss Ramirez later experienced nausea from having swallowed contaminated water in the channel. Both recovered.
45789 – 455545789-4555