James A. Williams died after saving Ronald J. Azzardi from drowning, Cleveland, Ohio, May 21, 1961. From a culvert at the end of a yacht club basin, Ronald, 9, attempted to reach a dog that had fallen into water five feet deep and could not climb out. Ronald also fell into the water and was submerged briefly. He then flailed his arms to remain at the surface, his actions carrying him away from the culvert, which was 30 inches above the water. Williams, 41, truckdriver, a very poor swimmer, ran to the culvert and jumped into the water fully clothed. He waded eight feet to Ronald and lifted him onto his back. With Ronald holding to his shoulders, Williams waded back to the culvert. He handed Ronald and then the dog to a youth, who had arrived. Turning, Williams waded toward a stone breakwater, which was 15 feet away and sloped toward the water. He stepped into an eroded hole where the water was eight to 10 feet deep, was submerged, and did not return to the surface. Others arrived and probed the area with pike poles. They located Williams, who was removed from the deep water but could not be revived.
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