Jason Christopher Byrnes helped to save Michael D. LaSala, Josiah S. Thompson, and Sheralyn J. Wellman from drowning and helped attempt to save Anna E. Wright, Ellisburg, New York, July 15, 2007. On a swimming outing, friends Michael, 16; Josiah, 15; Sheralyn, 13; and Anna, 17, were unable to return to shore against the strong current and six-foot waves in Lake Ontario at the mouth of Sandy Creek. On shore in the vicinity, Byrnes, 33, account executive, and his brother-in-law were alerted to the situation and set out from the creek in search of the teens in a 14-foot aluminum boat that was equipped with an outboard motor. Fighting the pounding waves, the men located Michael at a point about 750 feet from shore and pulled him aboard. Although water was entering the boat, they searched for the others, spotting Josiah and Sheralyn in the troughs between the waves about 125 feet away. Taking the boat toward them, the men threw Sheralyn a life jacket and pulled Josiah aboard. Byrne’s brother-in-law entered the water to support Sheralyn after he and Byrnes concluded that the boat had reached its capacity under the conditions. Byrnes took Michael and Josiah to shore and then returned for Sheralyn and his brother-in-law. They took her to safety and again headed out into the lake, to search for Anna. Unsuccessful, they returned to shore. Anna’s body was found two days later. Byrnes sustained bruises to his arms and legs, and he recovered.
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