Jeffrey J. Dudarenke helped to save David M. Wirtz and four other men from drowning, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, September 21, 2000. Wirtz, 35, and four other men were ejected from a moving, 42-foot powerboat into the cold water of Lake Winnebago at a point about 1.5 miles from the closest shore. The boat continued, out of control at about 50 m.p.h., in circles around them. In a 35-foot powerboat about a half-mile away, Dudarenke, 36, research and development engine technician, and two other men witnessed the accident and immediately responded toward the scene. As the out-of-control boat continued its course, Dudarenke and the two other men took their boat into the circle to approach the victims. Dudarenke and one of the other men hauled each victim aboard while the third man maneuvered the boat to avoid its being struck by the runaway one, which passed as close as 15 feet. Once all five victims were aboard, Dudarenke and the two other men returned their boat to shore, where the victims were given medical treatment for multiple bruises. They recovered. The runaway boat continued to circle until its course took it toward shore, where it was partially disabled by striking the lake bottom. Its speed slowed, the boat was stopped and returned to shore by officers of the sheriff’s department.
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