James D. Betbeze saved Eric G. and Gene E. Hale from drowning, Dauphin Island, Alabama, May 10, 1970. When an undertow carried Eric, 8, into deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, his father, Gene, 39, accountant, went to his aid, reaching him 100 feet from shore but finding he then was too tired to swim back to the beach. James, 16, high-school student who had noticed the situation, swam to them. Gene told James to take Eric and he would follow. James, who suffered from asthma, began towing Eric shoreward, swimming diagonally with the breakers but against the undertow. He was very tired and breathing with difficulty by the time he reached wadable water. James then swam back to Gene, who had suffered leg cramps and still was 100 feet from shore. James was nearly exhausted by the time he had towed Gene, who outweighed him by about 40 pounds, to wadable water.
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