James Ponts saved Lloyd W. Patterson from drowning, Fort Bragg, California, March 11, 1978. After his boat capsized in the Pacific Ocean and threw him into the cold water, Patterson, 31, was carried into a large cove, where rocks projected above the surface. When erratic currents began moving Patterson back out toward extremely rough water at the cove’s mouth, Ponts, 37, teacher, launched an eight-foot dinghy and rowed after him. Passing through several breaker lines and rowing a total of about 900 feet, Ponts neared Patterson. After a number of tries, during each of which the dinghy was blown off course by strong winds, Ponts succeeded in throwing a rope to Patterson. With difficulty Ponts then rowed back to shore, towing Patterson by means of the rope.
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