Jarvise Shelton attempted to help save Hanh Nguyen and others from drowning, Sauget, Illinois, June 12, 2012. Nguyen, 33; two other men; and two young children were occupants of a 16-foot motorboat that became disabled on the Mississippi River. The boat was pulled by a swift current to a stationary fleet of barges, where it struck one of the barges and became lodged against it. A towboat was in the vicinity, and its crew, including Shelton, 39, deckhand, became aware of the situation. Shelton and another of the crew launched their boat’s rigid-inflatable emergency vessel and took it to a point near the stranded motorboat. As Shelton maneuvered the rescue boat, the other crewman threw the free end of a line toward the stranded victims, but to no effect. Although Shelton worked to control the rescue boat, the current pushed it against the barges, and it capsized, throwing him and the other crewman into the river. Shelton was able to climb atop the capsized rescue boat, but the other crewman was pulled beneath the barges and swept downstream, where he surfaced, inert. Crewmembers of an arriving tugboat took both men aboard before going onto the barges to assist in the rescue of Nguyen and the others. Neither Shelton nor any of the occupants of the disabled boat was injured, but Shelton’s crewman could not be revived, as he had drowned.
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