James L. New saved Alfred M. Bennett from drowning, Blairsville, Pennsylvania, December 15, 1934. The outer edge of an area of ice broke under Alfred, 12, as he attempted to lift his younger brother on the ice at a point 40 feet from the bank of the Conernaugh River, where the water was eight feet deep. He was momentarily submerged and then grasped the ice, which broke off in small pieces. James, 12, schoolboy, who thought the ice would not bear his weight, walked a few feet to the edge and stepped off the ice into the water. Swimming a stroke or two to Alfred’s side, he took hold of the ice with one hand, and Alfred grasped James’s sweater at his chest. James by a twist and a push freed himself and then got behind Alfred. Treading water and pushing up against Alfred’s legs, he enabled Alfred to climb upon the ice. The ice sagged, and Alfred crawled three feet from the edge and then walked to the bank. James grasped the ice and looked around for Alfred’s brother, who by then had disappeared. James’s younger brother walked on the ice to within six feet of James and extended a branch four feet long to him, and James held to the branch for five minutes until a boat was rowed to him from the opposite side of the river. James was too cold to climb into the boat and was pulled into it. Alfred’s brother was drowned.
34435 – 282334435-2823