James C. Mower helped to save Clifford J. Cox from suffocation, Foresthill, California, June 20, 1970. In the tunnel of an abandoned gold mine 132 feet below ground level, Cox, 60, sales clerk, lost consciousness 2,700 feet from the entrance shaft due to lack of oxygen. His nephew, who had accompanied him, was unable to move Cox but managed to return to the shaft and ascend from the mine to get help. Among those who assembled was Mower, 19, forestry firefighter. With breathing equipment, Mower descended to the tunnel, which was five to seven feet in width and in height. Accompanied by two other men, Mower proceeded along the tunnel. Beyond 1,600 feet from the shaft, the lack of oxygen made breathing equipment necessary. The three men reached Cox, who responded but did not regain full consciousness when Mower gave him air. Mower and the other men began carrying Cox out of the tunnel; but their air supply was low, and after they had gone only 30 feet, all fell to their knees. When the others lost consciousness, Mower continued along the tunnel to get help. With some difficulty he made his way to within 50 feet of the safe area, where others met him and aided him the rest of the way. Efforts of others eventually resulted in the removal of Mower, Cox, and the third man. Mower and Cox recovered fully.
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