Jesus C. Hernandez saved Charleen Wiech from drowning, San Benito, Texas, October 6, 1935. At night, the sedan automobile in which Charleen, 8, and her parents were riding plunged from a bridge into an irrigation canal and rested in an upright position on the bottom in water 11 feet deep, 30 feet from the bank, and 15 feet from the bridge. Only the window at the driver’s seat was open. The parents were thrown to the rear seat, where the child was. Charleen’s father broke the window in a rear door, swam out, and stood on the top of the automobile in water to his chin. Charleen’s mother got out of the other rear door, which had sprung open, swam to a point below the bridge, and was pulled upon it by means of a rope. Five or six persons who could swim were on the bridge, but none made an effort to save Charleen. Hernandez, 21, laborer, then arrived. Although told by others not to enter the water, he removed his outer clothing and dived and swam down to the side of the automobile. Finding no opening, he swam down the opposite side, found the broken window, and rose for air. In response to his request, a hammer was thrown to him, but it struck him a glancing blow on the head and caused him to be briefly submerged. After diving and removing the remaining glass from the window, Hernandez entered the automobile and found Charleen on the rear seat. After again rising for air, he dived, reached through the window, pulled the child out, and swam to the bridge. Charleen’s father also swam to the bridge, and all were pulled up by means of the rope. Charleen was unconscious but was revived. Hernandez suffered cuts on his hands and one foot and scratches on his back and hips.
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