James A. Christopher, 22, septic tank cleaner, attempted to save W. Robert Bauer, 34, truckdriver, from suffocation, Sarver, Pennsylvania, December 29, 1967. Bauer lowered himself through a pipe 16 inches in diameter which descended four feet from ground level to a septic tank four feet deep. He dropped to the bottom of the tank, in which sewage was three inches deep, and tried to unplug a connecting line. Feeling weak, Bauer sat down and then lost consciousness. When Bauer did not answer their calls, persons at ground level realized he had been overcome. While a rescue squad was being summoned, Christopher entered the tank and tried without success to boost Bauer to the opening. Feeling weak, he dropped Bauer to a seated position. Christopher then sank to his knees, lost consciousness, and fell face down in the sewage. John N. Galbreath volunteered to enter the tank long enough to remove Christopher’s head from the sewage, Galbreath’s wrists were tied together with a rope by which others then lowered him into the tank. Holding his breath, he lifted Christopher to a seated position. Galbreath then was pulled out; but, noting that Bauer was moving erratically, he reentered the tank in the same manner as before, this time with a garden hose in his mouth to allow him to breathe air from outside the tank. Galbreath tied Bauer’s wrists together with another rope. Those at ground level pulled Bauer from the tank and returned the rope to Galbreath, who then bound Christopher’s wrists together. By the time Christopher had been removed, Galbreath was feeling weak. He also was pulled from the tank. The rescue squad arrived and removed Bauer, Christopher, and Galbreath to a hospital. All recovered fully.
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