Jack W. Barrett died after helping to save Mary Lou Ferguson from drowning, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, August 14, 1960. When Miss Ferguson, 19, who could not swim, got into difficulty in the surf in the Atlantic Ocean, a young man swam to her and supported her, but a very strong undercurrent carried them farther from shore. The young man called for assistance. Barrett, 49, department store clerk, who was in the surf 100 feet from shore, swam 175 five feet and overtook Miss Ferguson. She by then had become separated from the young man, who was 10 feet from her. Barrett took hold of Miss Ferguson’s arm and told her to be calm. With extreme effort because of the undercurrent, he towed her 35 feet toward the beach and then called for assistance. A man swam to within 10 feet of them with an inflated plastic raft, and Barrett then thrust Miss Ferguson toward it. She grasped the end of the raft opposite the man. Barrett turned and without saying anything swam farther from shore, apparently searching for the young man and unaware that he then was swimming slowly toward the beach. After swimming 35 feet, Barrett turned back toward shore again but made little progress and called for help. Two other men swam to Barrett, who by then had lost consciousness and was floating face downward in the water, and towed him to the beach. The man with the raft brought Miss Ferguson safely to shore, and the young man also reached the beach. Barrett could not be revived.
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