J. Claude Heon saved Antonio Francisco from drowning, Waterbury, Connecticut, February 11, 1960. Antonio, 7, who could not swim, fell into Mad River and was carried 30 feet from the bank as he was swept downstream in water generally seven feet deep. From a bridge, Claude, 13, schoolboy, saw Antonio, who then was inert and floating face down. Claude ran 60 feet on the bridge and climbed over the railing onto an abutment. From it he lowered himself onto the bank, where he ran 200 feet downstream. Antonio then was directly opposite him, still 30 feet from the bank. Removing only his jacket, Claude dived from a boulder into the river, the bottom of which was covered with rocks. He swam 45 feet diagonally across the current in the cold water, which contained industrial waste, and reached Antonio. Claude held Antonio’s head above water and towed him toward the bank as the current forced them farther downstream. After towing Antonio 45 feet, Claude reached the bank. Grasping a boulder, he lifted Antonio out of the water. Claude, who was chilled and winded, climbed onto the bank as other arrived. Antonio was removed to a hospital and recovered the next day.
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